DirecTV customers will lose local NBC and ABC feeds, if the contract with WTVA isn’t renewed soon. WTVA officials told that they are in “good faith” of negotiation with the satellite provider, and added that they have offered “terms and rates that are consistent” with contracts made with other satellite and cable providers.
WTVA’s GM, Jerry Jones, encouraged DirecTV customers to make phone calls to company “and tell them they want to keep their ABC and NBC as part of their service.”
AT&T spokeswoman, Tarvis Thompson, said that it is up to WTVA to keep the programming on customer’s lineup. “We are working to keep WTVA in our customers’ line-ups even though its owner, USA Television, is threatening to block its signal from reaching those same homes,” Thompson said.
She further added that, “USA is demanding a significant increase in their current fees just to let these same families keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air and often online at ABC.com and NBC.com. We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly, reasonably, and with the least possible inconvenience.”
MSouth Equity Partners and Heartland Media jointly own USA Television, who got into a similar dispute with Dish Network a couple of years ago. On New Year, Dish Network took off WTVA from its lineup due to unsuccessful contract negotiations.
Jerry Jones commented that the disagreement with providers is over the programming and value of station’s content and added that, “DirecTV resells this same content to you, the subscriber, yet refuses to compensate at a fair market value. The whole business model for TV has evolved, and part of the business is to finance programming. It can get expensive.”
NBC paid around $1.23 billion for the rights for the Rio Summer Games 2016 broadcast in the U.S. The company expected the games to be more profitable compared to 2012 London Olympics, which turned out to be true and has helped them collect around $120 million until date.
A portion of the cost will be passed down to its affiliates. In order to buffer the added expenses, stations ask for little increase in fees to the cable stations and satellite provider. Meanwhile, WTVA is also recommending viewers to consider switching to other cable TV alternatives or go for the feed available through antenna.