Impasse between Directv and Local channels in Pittsburgh

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by psumstr, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Jan 1, 2017 #1 of 52

    psumstr New Member

    Aug 11, 2016
    Wexford, PA
    Just learned this morning that we lost our local ABC and NBC channels due to locked negotiations between Hearst television and directv in the Pittsburgh market. Does anyone know if Directv would be willing to enable a different market's locals to help out while negotiations continue? Have there been instances in other markets where they never reach an agreement and your are just out of luck? Long way before contract expires.
  2. Jan 1, 2017 #2 of 52
    Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

    Mar 23, 2002
    For DirecTV, there are currently two disputes: Hearst TV (which is also affecting Sacramento, CA), and Cox Media Group. Per law, DirecTV is not able to enable a different market locals. There have been a case or two where the carriage dispute lasted over one month.
  3. Jan 1, 2017 #3 of 52

    gemery Mentor

    Apr 10, 2007
    Noticed here in Boston they did not add alert channels for the two Hearst channels, but they did for the Fox channel we also lost today.... Maybe it will be quicker...

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  4. Jan 1, 2017 #4 of 52

    Eva Active Member

    Nov 8, 2013
    Another round of channel blackouts. The FCC or someone needs to put an end to this stuff. Greedy Greedy and Greedy.
  5. Jan 1, 2017 #5 of 52

    gemery Mentor

    Apr 10, 2007
    Legislature.. fcc is just enforcing the rules already set

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  6. Jan 1, 2017 #6 of 52
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Gold Club DBSTalk Club

    Apr 17, 2003
    Yep ... Congress should write rules requiring cable and satellite companies to pay stations whatever they demand for compensation.

    Or is that not what you meant? Would you prefer that the law require cable and satellite companies to carry stations with no compensation to the station or copyright holders?

    The trouble is that the laws could be written either way. Which way is fair depends on whether one owns a cable/satellite company or a broadcast station. Either way it is the government interfering in private contracts allegedly for the public good, But if the government interferes in a way that you approve of it is easier to accept.

    (The Supreme Court started this mess when they ruled that retransmission was subject to copyright protection. Congress wrote permissive laws allowing retransmission under defined circumstances. One of the protections written in to the law was allowing local stations to withhold consent to rebroadcast within their own market.)
  7. Jan 1, 2017 #7 of 52

    BarkingGhost Legend

    Dec 29, 2007
    NE Atlanta...
    OK, let me see if I understand this ... Cox, which apparently owns the local Channel 2 in Atlanta, is holding customers (end user) hostage because of a dispute it has with and is losing to DirecTV, which is an end user service provider. Both the end users and the supporting affiliate (ABC/Disney) lose because of all of this. If I ban ABC (and Disney) to force a business move to get Channel 2's ABC affiliation revoked or suspended so I can get a national ABC substitution then ...
  8. Jan 1, 2017 #8 of 52

    gemery Mentor

    Apr 10, 2007
    I wonder how many actual customers are impacted, meaning how many people in the Boston market actually get the local channel package?

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  9. Jan 1, 2017 #9 of 52

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Realize that these disputes eventually affect all service providers, not just DirecTV, so switching providers isn't the cure. It's station owner greed that's causing this, not DirecTV. Ask yourself why you should pay more to receive stations that broadcast over-the-air for free? And be sure to also lean on the local station to settle this dispute. Fortunately DirecTV has a good track record for resolving these disputes before the station is actually dropped.

    I'm always dismayed when these disputes arise and take away a local channel at how quick people are to blame DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, etc. It's really the local station owners that folks should be lobbying. They're the ones asking for us to pay more and more every year to view stations that broadcast on our public airwaves for free. Why should we be held hostage every time a local station owner wants more of our money? The FCC and Congress have talked about fixing this mess but have, of course, done nothing. The easiest fix would be to allow service providers like DirecTV to carry an out-of-area station, but current FCC regulations don't allow that.
    DishCSR likes this.
  10. wmb

    wmb Godfather

    Dec 17, 2008
    Wait a sec, I thought that this was the case.. The local station could make the cable/satellite company carry them without making the cable company pay them.

    Must carry rules means that locals can make cable/satellite companies pay them for carriage, but cable companies can not make locals pay for rebroadcast.
  11. n3ntj

    n3ntj Hall Of Fame

    Dec 18, 2006
    Hearst TV operates TV stations in 22+ markets (36 TV stations, I believe) so lots of D* customers are affected by this issue. Locally, D* turned off WGAL (Lancaster, PA) at 12:05AM this morning. I was watching at that time to see if they'd turn if off or not. Yep, it switched to the 'this station has required that we not show this station' slide displays now.

    Luckily, I can receive all of my locals via OTA so D* not carrying one or more doesn't affect me at all other than changing my recordings scheduled to the 8-1 channel.

    This provider vs. station issue happens all too much and leaves the viewer in the middle. Many don't have an antenna, so those are screwed until a carriage renewal is agreed to. Both sides are to blame. Not sure what the FCC or the Federal gov't can do to prevent this. It's capitalism.

    Allowing providers to show an out of market same-affiliate (such as the national feed of the same affiliate) while a station is down due to a carriage dispute would be consumer friendly, but regulation changes to allow this would be needed.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  12. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

    Aug 14, 2011
    Um, everyone? Locals are part of all packages....
  13. laramr

    laramr Mentor

    Oct 20, 2005
    Baltimore NBC as well, so no game tonight.
  14. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    Though it's really not that simple. I mean someone could live in that market but if they don't watch programming on that channel, then they really aren't affected. Shows they watch on those channels might be on hiatus etc.

    In reality this will likely be over in a few days.
  15. gemery

    gemery Mentor

    Apr 10, 2007
    Lol so that shows me how much I look at the bill or packages. I think when I signed up for direct tv locals were an add on for like five bucks a month or something like that.

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  16. Billzebub

    Billzebub Godfather

    Jan 1, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Well it's not quite capitalism, at least not capitalism as we know it. The local stations have a monopoly on the programming of the national network. In our regulated capitalist system any number of local stations could cut separate deals with the network and compete with each other based on other factors.

    Also, these local stations exist because they are using the public airways and are required to serve the public in return. Other than local news, which generally consist of local talent reading the newspaper to us or talking heads cheering on the local sports teams, there is no public service.

    In a better world the networks would compete nationally just like cable networks and local channels would consist of just local programming. Let's see how much they could charge for that.
  17. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    No, it isn't local station owner greed. They're caught in the middle. The networks are raising the fees the local stations have to pay to carry their programming - most of it going to support their prime time TV schedule and sports. Ad rates have been falling because of people recording and skipping commercials so they've used these fees to make up the difference. A couple years ago Les Moonves (head of CBS) said they'd be collecting $2 per station per viewer per month by 2020. If all four networks do that, that's $8/month before the operating costs of those local stations are even figured in, meaning providers like Directv will probably end up having to pay around $10/month per viewer for each market's locals.

    My cable company breaks out the locals on my bill. It is over $7/month, so maybe Les was underestimating how much they will eventually get... I wish Directv would break out the locals like this so people could see how much of their bill is really going there, like they do with RSNs, but I'm sure people here would just whine about it like they do the RSN fee. Too bad Directv is going in the wrong direction as far as supporting customers using OTA. If customers who can pick up their locals with an antenna were allowed to drop locals from their package and save that $7/month or whatever, a lot of people doing that could put a lot of pressure on the local stations and therefore the networks to stop with the endless disputes and price increases.
  18. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

    Aug 14, 2011
    But they are still subscribed....
  19. KyL416

    KyL416 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 10, 2005
    Tobyhanna, PA
    I don't know what Dish's current local-less pricing is, but DirecTV's local-less packages are $3 cheaper. (For DirecTV, the only way to have that pricing is to either be grandfathered, live in a market without locals, or be in a 119 market with line of sight issues confirmed by an installer) Of course the actual cost of each market varies.

    It's usually the network affiliates who opt for retrans consent, while the independents, ethnic, infomercial and religious channels opt for must carry and don't charge the provider anything. Univision and Telemundo vary, O&O markets usually charge, smaller markets, especially those with a smaller spanish speaking population, go for must carry.

    You can check what your local stations chose in their FCC station profile. Just search for their call letters, click to the icon with the three dots for "More Public Inspection Files" on the left and select "Must-Carry or Retransmission Consent":
    Home - FCC Public Inspection Files
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  20. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

    Aug 14, 2011
    Comcast has a $5.00 broadcast TV fee in my area that at TV subs must pay. I wish Directv would tell us how greedy the local networks are in our bills, but we probably don't want to know.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017

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