(Bloomberg) -- DirecTV subscribers in dozens of cities lost access to local NBC, ABC, CBS or Fox TV outlets because of a fee dispute between the satellite service and station owner Tegna Inc.
Sports broadcasts, including the National Football League’s Sunday games, may be affected if the parties don’t settle. Tegna blacked out its stations from DirecTV customers on Thursday, the satellite provider said. Tegna owns 64 TV stations in 51 markets that serve about 40% of DirecTV’s subscribers, according to the companies.
It’s the latest contract dispute between a broadcaster and the pay-TV platforms that carry their signals to millions of customers. Broadcasters have sought higher fees from cable and satellite providers even as customers cancel their services.
Broadcasters say they need the fees to pay for essential programming such as local news and weather. Pay-TV providers say annual increases exceed inflation and are borne by subscribers.
In September, a similar disagreement between Charter Communications Inc. and Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, ESPN and FX, led to a blackout of those channels during the US Open tennis tournament. They settled after more than a week.
McLean, Virginia-based Tegna said DirecTV had “refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement.”
DirecTV in a news release advised customers to use over-the-air antennas and online apps to watch college and NFL games carried by Tegna stations
DirecTV reported 15.4 million customers in 2021 as it was being spun off by AT&T Inc. into a joint venture with TPG Inc. It no longer publicly report subscribers.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.