In a recent development, DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM faced a setback, losing access to 68 local channels from ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC due to a failed deal with broadcast station owner Tegna.
The blackout affects not only the core satellite offering of DIRECTV but also streaming services like AT&T TV and DIRECTV STREAM.
The conflict arose as Tegna, covering 52 markets, and DIRECTV couldn’t reach an agreement before the 8 p.m. ET deadline, resulting in the expiration of their existing deal.
This marks the second time this year that DIRECTV has encountered such a situation, having previously grappled with Nexstar, leading to a two-and-a-half-month blackout.
The disagreement centers around the escalating distribution costs, with Tegna seeking substantial annual rate increases.
Rob Thun, chief content officer for DIRECTV, expressed that the two parties were “extremely far apart” in negotiations.
Tegna blamed DIRECTV for the breakdown, emphasizing their efforts to reach a fair, market-based agreement.
Interestingly, DIRECTV proposed a novel solution to the rising costs: an a la carte plan for local stations.
In this model, subscribers could choose to pay for local channels separately. However, Tegna rejected this idea, arguing it would impose an additional fee on customers.
The duration of the blackout remains uncertain, and both sides point fingers at each other for the impasse.
Tegna accused DIRECTV of refusing a fair agreement, leading to the loss of access for customers to NFL and college football conference championship games, along with popular national network programming.
This situation reflects the broader challenges faced by pay-TV providers dealing with increased rates for carrying local channels.
The rejected a la carte proposal by DIRECTV introduces a potential shift in the traditional distribution agreement landscape, akin to recent innovative deals in the industry.