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Dish Network and DirecTV face massive programming blackouts


DirecTV and Dish Network, two major satellite television providers in the United States, are both dealing with massive channel blackouts. This came as distribution talks among broadcasters broke down. AT&T, the parent company to DirecTV, placed the blame solely on Tegna Inc, as a monetary disagreement between the two companies caused more than 60 local broadcast channels to go dark.

“In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, TEGNA is demanding the largest rate increase we have ever seen, and intentionally blacking out its most loyal viewers,” AT&T’s statement to USA Today said. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price tweeted out frustration over not being able to watch Sunday night football due to the blackout. “David, we share your frustration. We want to keep your local channels in your lineup, but by law, TEGNA has exclusive control over who can receive them. We’re working to return your local channels as soon as possible & appreciate your patience,” DirecTV responded to Price’s tweet.

Potential programming losses for viewers included the postponement of an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

In the Dish Network battle, Nexstar Media Group Television Stations in 120 markets and 42 states have gone completely dark. The reason for DirecTV’s blackout is the same as for the Dish blackout: failure to reach a deal between the two companies.

Dish accused Nexstar Media Group of taking away local programming from nearly 5.4 million of Dish’s subscribers in a press release on Dec. 2. “We made a fair offer to keep Nexstar stations available to our customers, but Nexstar rejected it,” The Group President of Dish TV, Brian Neylon was quoted saying in the company’s statement.

“Earlier today, we offered to extend the current contract and hold subscribers harmless while negotiations continue … but Nexstar never responded. We don’t understand why Nexstar insists on prioritizing greed above American viewers, many of whom rely on local programming for their news and entertainment, especially during this global pandemic,” he added.

Neylon has also accused Nexstar of demanding more than $1 billion to pay for fees on stations that are available from free over the air.

Blackouts continue as the companies fail to reach an agreement.

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Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant to The Ticker.

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  • C

    CarolDec 13, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    We have an outdoor antenna which was installed when built our home 45 yrs. ago. Dropped DirectTV over a year ago because of continuing to raise our monthly bill when making no changes to our programming. We got Dish Network and so far been very happy with them. They did the over the air hookup with our antenna for local channels at the same time installing their Dish setups inside our home. I also love that they have Netflix on their list of channels. We are able to watch CBS with no problem. Sad on the greediness that different networks are wanting to charge which unfortunately would be passed down to customers.

  • N

    NelsonDec 13, 2020 at 2:04 am

    Hey Dish what ever happened with NBC Sports Chicago deal? Way over a year and no teleacasts and no notifications.Get with it or you’ll lose another customer. I forgot you could care less.

  • P

    PaulaDec 12, 2020 at 1:38 am

    DISH is also in distribute with Apollo. I haven’t had ABC since July!

  • J

    Jon anonymousDec 11, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Dish is cheap and wasting money on wireless plans that will likely not succeed.
    Due to their continued gambling attempts they have cost fish subscribers channels. Dish illegally obtained a 3 billion dollar discount on spectrum contracts and the FCC has seized them to auction off. Dish has paid 260+ million in illegal telemarketing activities, and acquired a failing Boost mobile in attempts to further their 5g gamble. They were supposed to release 5g this November and has now been pushed to Q3 next year.
    Dish has wasted the money gained from its satellite business and pursued wireless because Dish is dying. In part to the terrible management and leadership. Dish was even ranked #1 worst place to work on Glassdoor.
    They can’t afford to pay Nextar because they owe so much from gambling their profit away.

    • D

      Dave MDec 11, 2020 at 10:57 pm

      Dish offered to pay NEXSTAR a sum similar to what they had previously paid. NEXTSTAR said no, we want much much more. I have no doubt DISH would have paid the reasonable amount, and it was NEXTSTAR’s decision to not take that money. Therefore, DISH does have the money to pay a fair price to NEXTSTAR, and your suggestion otherwise is disproven. The blame for these channels being dark is solely on NEXTSTAR’s shoulders.

  • D

    Dave MDec 11, 2020 at 3:04 am

    I applaud DISH for not giving in to NEXSTAR’s attempt to monetize their monopoly. I am a DISH subscriber who does not want the costs passed on to me. Hopefully NEXSTAR’s advertisers will reduce the amount they are willing to pay to reach millions of fewer viewers. At any rate, the days of this type of behavior are numbered. We will soon have a government that scrutinizes this type of greedy behavior. We will also soon have a FCC chairman that does not turn a blind eye. Ajit Pai was at the helm during an unprecedented media conglomeration, and did nothing. You can thank him for these blackouts, as well as the 2-3 robot calls you get everyday that he has done nothing about.