Cable TV Alternatives

DirecTV Retransmission Dispute

DirecTV is on a retransmission dispute with Heartland Media, who has accused that the satellite TV provider is using discriminative policies in negotiations.

In a recent press release, Heartland Media stated that, “The merger of AT&T and DIRECTV last year created a $250 billion company. Those that opposed the merger were concerned it would create such a behemoth that it would try and crush small broadcasters. AT&T/DIRECTV has proven those concerns to be valid.”

A company representative further added that, “Heartland LLC and USA Television LLC with only five stations is a victim of AT&T/DIRECTV’s discriminatory tactics and bad faith bargaining. The principal owner of Heartland has been in the broadcast business for over 25 years and has never previously experienced a service disruption.”

When the previous agreement expired without coming in terms on a new retransmission agreement, the Heartland channels blacked out on DirecTV earlier this month. The stations that were affected include CBS and NBC stations in Utica, 3 ABC affiliates in Oregon, as well as Fox and NBC in New York and Tupelo. Heartland representatives said that DirecTV is rejecting their proposals, but at the same time, they are also paying lesser-rated stations considerably more fees than that suggested by Heartland.


Dispute Over Transmission Rate

“For some reason, DirecTV has not been willing to negotiate appropriate market value retransmission compensation that other distributors are paying for WKTV’s content. Primarily, Heartland Media and DirecTV disagree on the value of WKTV’s programming and content. DirecTV resells this same content to you, the subscriber, yet refuses to compensate at a fair market value the highly rated and award-winning programming that WKTV produces every day for its viewers,” Heartland said.

Commenting on that, DirecTV responded that, “We want to get the Heartland and USA Television stations back into our customers’ line-ups and share their frustration. The stations’ owners are prohibiting their signals from reaching their homes unless they receive a significant increase in their current fees just to let the same families keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air and often online.”

DirecTV had a similar retransmission dispute for more than a month with Sunbeam Television Corp. in Boston and Miami. When the two sides did not arrive in a new retransmission agreement, the Sunbeam channels blacked out on DirecTV. However, the dispute was recently settled, and DirecTV formed a new agreement to carry WSVN-TV, WHDH-TV, the Sunbeam’s NBC affiliate, and CW affiliate.