Raycom Media has become the latest broadcast television company to see its stations get yanked from a MVPD over a retransmission fee dispute.
Right before midnight Thursday (3/16), AT&T U-Verse dropped all Raycom-owned stations from its channel lineups in 23 different markets.
It’s nothing new for AT&T U-Verse customers in markets where Raycom owns stations: The TV station owner notes that this represents the “fifth takedown of service by AT&T U-Verse” since its merger with DirecTV.
Prior to the AT&T merger with DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse had no signal disruptions during retransmission negotiations.
“We never want our communities to experience a disruption,” said Raycom Media President/CEO Pat LaPlatney. “These retransmission consent agreements are important free-market negotiations that sustain broadcast localism. It is unfortunate that AT&T U-Verse appears to be involving their customers in their broader business strategy.”
LaPLatney noted that in the last three years, Raycom has successfully negotiated retransmission consent agreements with 99.5% of its operators without a disruption to viewers.
In a statement, AT&T said, “We have asked Raycom repeatedly to allow our customers to watch while we work this business matter out privately, but Raycom continues to refuse.”