Looks like some DIRECTV customers in a few markets are going to need to dig out some old OTA antennas out of the closet: The MVPD provider is still in a dispute with Northwest Broadcasting after two weeks, and it is unclear how soon the two sides might reach a deal. Each has made statements that don’t indicate a solution is on the way.
Currently, four FOX affiliates are not available to DIRECTV customers: KAYU Spokane, WA; KFFX Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA; WICZ Binghamton, NY and KMVU in Medford-Klamath Falls, OR.
Also, two MyNetworkTV affiliates are unavailable to DIRECTV customers: KXNM Fort Smith, AR; and WGNT Norfolk-Newport News, VA.
“Northwest has taken down these channels (for the second time in 20 months) to try and extort a 300% increase in fees which we refuse to accept as we must keep our customers’ monthly bills as low as possible,” DIRECTV said on its website, directvpromise.com. “We’ve always been willing to compensate Northwest fairly, but it’s wrong for them to expect DIRECTV customers to pay more for these channels than their neighbor across the street.”
Said Northwest Broadcasting CEO Brian Brady in an online statement: “We had reached an agreement on the money, compromising on what we had initially sought in order to keep our DIRECTV partnership and minimize disruption for our viewers. It was still less than what DIRECTV pays others, but we believed it was fair. During several weeks of intense negotiations, DIRECTV offered to more than triple what it pays us, reflecting FOX 40’s value. We were prepared to say ‘yes.’ However, DIRECTV’s offer came with other conditions that were so restrictive and unusual, we might have never seen the money. It was at this point that we lost trust in DIRECTV and severed our business ties.”
Northwest has ceased all negotiations with DIRECTV and is “moving forward to serve our viewers as best we can.”
“After 19 months, we reached a financial agreement a week ago,” Jon Rand, Northwest COO told The Mail Tribune. “We came to terms with what they would pay us. But then they added terms and conditions that we think they probably knew we couldn’t agree with and it blew the whole thing up.”
DIRECTV, however, said an agreement is on its way: “Northwest took the stations away to begin January 2011 and then returned them four weeks later just before the Super Bowl. The new FOX primetime lineup won’t premiere until mid-September, and we would anticipate this interruption being over before then.”