Verizon Fios Avoids A Threatened ‘Blackout’ It Warned Customers Of


On December 29, a provider of cable television services went on the attack, using the public — and the media — to curry favor in what appeared to be shaping up for the latest retransmission consent impasse of the season.

Verizon Fios started to notify its customers that they could lose some channels “in the coming days.” Those channels are owned by a Baltimore-based broadcast media company and include the ABC affiliate serving Boston.

The TV station owner declined comment, as negotiations continued.

Guess what? A new deal was reached before any “blackout” and another verbal battle impacting viewers was sparked.

On the morning of January 1, a Hearst Television representative confirmed media reports that a new retransmission deal was reached with Verizon Fios.

“As is always the case with these deals, terms are not disclosed,” the company representative tells RBR+TVBR.

The markets involved are Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Boston and Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, Pa.

As such, access to WBAL-11 in BaltimoreWGAL-8 in Harrisburg, WTAE-4 in Pittsburgh, WCVB-5 in Boston and WMUR-8 in Manchester, N.H. never disappeared.

So much for all of the bullying bravado on the part of Verizon, which like many MVPDs engaged in retrans negotiations, put all of the blame of a potential impasse on Hearst.

In Verizon’s view, Hearst was “demanding unreasonably large rate increases that might force customers to pay more to access the same content … While millions of Americans are struggling in an ongoing pandemic, Hearst Television has demanded Verizon pay increases so high that it might force customers’ monthly bills to go up. Verizon will not stand for that. This is in an effort to protect customers from unreasonable costs.”

When all was said and done, a deal was inked, preventing a situation created by Dish with Nexstar Media Group across much of December, and is presently impacting Capitol Broadcasting‘s WRAL-5 and WRAZ-50 in Raleigh and WILM-10 in Wilmington, N.C.