It’s over: Hearst Television at 1pm Eastern on Sunday — just before NFL Wild Card coverage was set to air — confirmed that it has reached a new retransmission consent agreement with DirecTV.
The freshly inked pact put an end to a “blackout” of Hearst stations on DirecTV lineups where the company owns stations that began in the 8pm ET hour on Friday.
A new multi-year retransmission consent agreement to provide Hearst-owned local broadcast stations to customers of AT&T’s video platforms across the country is now in effect.
Hearst and AT&T “regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience.”
Hearst Television owns and operates local television and radio stations serving 26 media markets across 39 states and claims to reach nearly one out of every five households in the U.S. It has affiliates of the ABC, NBC, CBS, and CW networks, in addition to those airing programming from MY Network TV, MeTV, This TV, and LBI Media-owned Spanish-language broadcast network Estrella TV.
In a statement appearing on all Hearst TV station websites, including NBC affiliate WESH-2 in Orlando and The CW Network affiliate WKCF-18, the company said Friday, “DIRECTV and Hearst Television have reached an impasse in negotiating a renewal retransmission consent agreement for the carriage of Hearst Television’s broadcast stations on DIRECTV’s satellite system and its internet-delivered platform AT&T TV Now (formerly known as DIRECTV TV Now).”
Hearst added that it has made “significant investments to deliver top tier programming to our viewers and DIRECTV is seeking the right to carry our stations at below market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable.”
Hearst added that it had not “blacked out” its stations — a familiar refrain from broadcasters when a new retrans deal can’t be reached. “You may continue to receive our station for free, over the air, or by other satellite distribution.”
The 34 stations impacted by the Hearst/DirecTV retrans negotiations are in some key markets, including Sacramento, Omaha, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Albuquerque, Orlando, New Orleans, and its home market of Baltimore.
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