DirecTV Just Lost Channels in 52 Areas

It’s a tale as old as the TV industry: broadcasting companies want more money from TV providers, the two companies can’t agree, and then access to channels is cut off. There have been several major carriage disputes this year, and just before 2023 comes to a close, there’s one more.

TV channels owned by Tenga are no longer available to DirecTV customers, which includes 64 stations across 51 metro regions. Most of the affected channels are local NBC and CBS affiliates, preventing people from watching some sports games (like NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC), local news, and all the scripted shows normally broadcasted on those channels.

As usual with carriage disputes, each company is blaming the other for being unreasonable. Tenga said in a statement to Variety, “Despite months of effort, DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Tegna. As a result, DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse customers will lose access to NFL and college football conference championship games, as well as some of the most popular national network programming and top-rated local news.”

DirecTV said in a blog post, “TEGNA is demanding double-digit annual rate increases that would make it the most expensive broadcaster nationwide, despite declining viewership and continued cord-cutting. Were DIRECTV to agree, it would obligate customers to pay a premium for TEGNA stations that exceeds hundreds of other DIRECTV agreements covering local stations in nearly 200 metro regions throughout the U.S.”

We’ve seen several other high-profile carriage disputes over the past year, as channel owners push for more revenue from TV companies, TV companies continue to lose subscribers, and streaming services remain dominant. Dish TV had multi-month battles with Nextstar Media Group and Hearst Television, which lead to dozens of channels going dark for Dish customers. Disney and Charter were also in a standoff back in September, which temporarily blocked access to ESPN, ABC, and other cable channels.

Most of the content available on NBC and CBS are available through the Paramount+ and Peacock streaming services, respectively, though sports games and local news might be unavailable. A TV antenna might fill in the remaining content gaps.

Source: Variety, DirecTV


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