Diehard fans of Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns who are currently subscribed to AT&T® U-Verse® or DirecTV® might miss the highly anticipated match between the two teams coming Sunday. This is due to the blackout of WBNS-TV (Channel 10) on these two TV services.
WBNS-TV and their sister station WTHR-TV went dark on these two TV services on Sept. 6 (both are currently owned by AT&T®, who is the fastest internet provider in several parts of the country). The blackout of these channels happened due to a dispute over retransmission licensing fees. As per law, satellite, and cable TV providers must negotiate with the local TV stations in order to broadcast their contents.
Reports from several reliable sources indicate that both the parties had held several meetings to resolve the issue. Yet, they were unable to end the dispute. However, DirecTV® and AT&T® U-Verse® customers are still hopeful that the blackout will end before the match begins.
In a recent email, an AT&T® spokeswoman Holly Hollingsworth stated that there has not yet been a progress in the issue since both the local stations “pulled their permission for DirecTV® and U-Verse® to carry WBNS earlier this month, and that remains the situation today.”
On the other hand, the owner of the two local stations, Dispatch Broadcast Group, informed viewers that they are still trying to resolve the issue. The president and general manager of WBNS, John Cardenas said, “It appears AT&T®/DirecTV® doesn’t have the urgency to restore CBS/10TV.”
He added, “We have done big deals with other (pay-TV) providers recently, and so we know what the market is on retransmission consent deals. We gear our negotiations toward that. As a two-station company, we are not setting the market for retransmission consent fees. We do not understand why we have been able to get deals done with other larger operators, but we cannot get this deal with ATT-DTV done.”
It seems that the subscribers of AT&T® U-Verse® and DirecTV® are having a tough time these days, as WBNS is not the only channel, who is having carriage disputes with AT&T®. The telecom company was recently involved in carriage disputes with 17 stations of Meredith Broadcasting, 3 stations of Capitol Broadcasting, 7 stations of American Spirit Media, and over 40 stations of Raycom. However, most of these disputes have been already resolved.