Following a breakdown in retrans renewal negotiations with Northwest Broadcasting, DirecTV will be dropping at midnight the Northwest Fox affiliates in Yakima and Spokane, both Washington; KMVU Medford, Ore.; and Binghamton, N.Y. DirecTV CEO Mike White claims Northwest is asking for a 600% increase in fees.
DirecTV Losing Fox Affils In Four Markets
The four small-market TV stations of Northwest Broadcasting will be coming off DirecTV at midnight tonight after Northwest and the satellite operator failed to reach an agreement on new retransmission consent payments, according to Northwest President Brian Brady.
The stations: KFFX Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash.; KMVU Medford-Klamath Falls, Ore.; WICZ Binghamton, N.Y., and KAYU Spokane, Wash.
All are Fox affiliates.
The loss of service will affect 160,000 homes in the four markets.
Brady, who is also the chairman of the Fox affiliate board, would not say what he was asking for in the negotiations or what DirecTV was offering, except in general terms.
“All we are looking for is an equitable deal,” he said.
“They want us to pay pennies on the dollars. Stations want to be compensated for the value that they bring.”
DirectTV CEO Mike White said that Northwest is asking for a 600% increase.
“We are appalled by the irresponsible behavior of Northwest Broadcasting, which has decided they would rather deprive our customers of their local channels, than make even an honest and good faith attempt to reach a fair deal in contract negotiations,” White said in a prepared statement.
“For local broadcast station owners to brazenly hold viewers hostage in an attempt to extort fees that are astronomically higher than what we pay other local broadcasters is flat out wrong. We hope that Northwest will ultimately come to the table in good faith to discuss reasonable terms and fees and they will quickly restore programming to our customers.”
Brady responded to DirecTV’s press release with one of his own, which didn’t directly dispute DirecTV’s claim that Northwests was demanding a 600% hike.
The current contract is 10 years old and no longer represents the reality of the marketplace and cannot be used a the basis for a new agreement, Brady said in the statement. “Rather the new agreement should reflect today’s marketplace and what DirecTV and other MVPDs are paying programmers for their content.”
“What Direct TV fails to disclose is that they have been reselling our programming to their customers at a mark-up of over 1000%. This is not about Northwest negotiating in bad faith or extortion of any kind. It is about Direct TV, a multi-billion dollar company, trying to protect their profit margins at broadcasters expense.”