DIRECTV Has Had Enough of Fee Fights!
Washington, D.C. (December 26, 2012) --
DIRECTV apparently has had enough with broadcasters threatening
to drop their local stations due to disagreements over carriage
fees. The satcaster is urging its subscribers to get off-air
antennas to receive the local signals so they will no longer
have to worry about blackout threats.
The company has been engaged in several frustrating fee fights
this year, including a impasse with Viacom that forced it to
take 26 channels off the air for nine days until a new agreement
was reached. But DIRECTV's latest programming dispute with
broadcaster Morgan Murphy Media may be the straw that broke the
Morgan Murphy, a television chain based in Madison, Wisconsin,
owns four local stations in Wisconsin, including the CBS
affiliate in Madison and the CBS station in LaCrosse, Wisconsin,
and four stations in Washington state, including three ABC
affiliates (Spokane, Kennewick, Yakima.)
According to DIRECTVPromise.com, the satcaster's specially
created site for fee fights, Morgan Murphy has been alerting
DIRECTV subscribers in those markets that they could lose their
local channels at the end of the year unless a new deal is
reached. That statement is true for four of the channels,
DIRECTV says. But the satcaster adds that its pacts with the
Madison and Yakima stations won't expire for a full year.
Murphy is even threatening viewers in Madison, Wisc. and
Tri-Cities of Yakima-Pasco-Richland, Wash. when those station
agreements don’t even expire for another year,"
DIRECTV says at its site.
Obviously frustrated over the situation, DIRECTVPromise.com then
says it has a "simple solution" to this fee fight and all
others: Get an antenna.
"We have a simple solution for customers to will help
stop these unnecessary and antagonizing tactics once and for
all: an inexpensive digital antenna that we will explain how to
use on directvpromise.com," DIRECTV states. "Most customers can
get great over the air reception from their local stations, it’s
free and they no longer have to worry about any station owner’s
threats or blackouts anymore."
DIRECTV adds: "Here we go again.
is just one more station owner willing to join in on the
record-breaking 84 station-led blackouts this year. The game is
the same – hold viewers’ loyalties against them by denying
access to programs unless everyone agrees to pay more – in this
case nearly three times as much — just to receive the same
DIRECTV's call for subscribers to get an
antenna is unusual because the satcaster actually sells its own
package of local channels for a monthly fee. By saying
subscribers should get an antenna, the company is effectively
saying it doesn't care if its customers subscribe to its local
channel package anymore; better they get an antenna so DIRECTV
and its customers don't have to experience another frustrating
Of course, it's too early to say that DIRECTV will take this
stance in all future fee fights. Many subscribers can't get
their local channels with an antenna for a variety of reasons,
including excessive distance from the channels' signal towers.
But DIRECTV has clearly had enough with fee fights and
apparently is even willing to forego some revenue to stop them.
As for Morgan Murphy Media, the broadcaster has DIRECTV alerts
up at its stations' web sites saying the satcaster's subscribers
could soon lose their channels. It remains to be seen if the two
companies can reach a deal by December 31 -- and allow DIRECTV
customers to keep their antenna purchases on hold.
Note: DIRECTV also has a year-end impasse with Capitol
Broadcasting, which could cost it five stations in North
Carolina unless a new pact is reached.