A last-minute deal has kept Austin ABC affiliate KVUE from going dark on the AT&T U-verse and DirecTV lineups.
Terms of the multi-year agreement, which covers 46 stations nationwide owned by McLean, Va.-based Tegna Inc., were not disclosed.
In a message to viewers last week, KVUE indicated retransmission fees were the sticking point. Federal law requires cable and satellite providers to compensate the local broadcasters whose signals they carry. Typically, that works out to a monthly per-subscriber fee.
Aside from Austin, other Texas cities where Tegna owns TV stations include Abilene, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, San Angelo, San Antonio, Tyler and Waco.
Update: The deadline has been extended 24 hours, until 11 p.m. Friday.
Earlier: Austin ABC affiliate KVUE could go dark tonight for AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV customers.
The station’s contract with the two providers, who united earlier this year, expires at 11 p.m. and, so far, a new deal hasn’t been reached.
The dustup is the latest in a long list this year involving just about every major Austin TV station.
Several other Tegna-owned stations across the country could vanish from the AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV lineups this evening, including ones in Dallas, Denver, Houston, New Orleans and Seattle.
Retransmission fees – money cable and satellite providers are required to pay local broadcasters in order to carry their signals – appear to be the sticking point, according to a post on KVUE’s website.
“So far DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us – even though the terms being offered are fundamentally the same as those that just allowed us to reach a deal with Dish,” the site claims. “Unfortunately, in its recent merger with AT&T, DirecTV promised its Wall Street investors to cut $2 billion from its investment in programming like ours. It is our sincere hope that DirecTV puts its customers ahead of Wall Street.”
One satellite TV dispute has been resolved, but another still lingers.
Media General, the company that operates three Austin TV stations, says it has reached a new agreement with DirecTV that means NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO will remain a part of its channel lineup.
Dish Network, meanwhile, has yet to strike a new deal with Tegna, owner of Austin ABC affiliate KVUE.
An existing agreement that expired Sept. 30 was initially extended 24 hours, but the two sides said Thursday that they would up that to an eight-day extension because Hurricane Joaquin is approaching the East Coast, where Tegna owns several TV stations.
Cable and satellite TV providers are required by federal law to compensate broadcasters for carrying their signals. Those fees have been the sticking point in both the DirecTV and Dish Network negotiations, based upon public statements made by those involved.
Disputes between broadcasters and satellite TV providers could knock as many as four Austin TV stations off some channel lineups this week.
DirecTV has yet to reach a new agreement to carry dozens of stations nationwide operated by Media General, including Austin NBC affiliate KXAN, CW affiliate KNVA and MyNetworkTV affiliate KBVO.
The current deal expires at 11 p.m. Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Dish Network is in a similar standoff with Tegna, owner of Austin ABC affiliate KVUE.
The deadline for them to work things out is 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The sticking point in both the DirecTV and Dish Network negotiations is money, based upon public statements made by those involved. Cable and satellite TV providers are required by federal law to compensate broadcasters for carrying their signals.
Just last month, a similar dustup knocked Austin CBS affiliate KEYE and its Telemundo subchannel off the Dish Network lineup for about 24 hours.