A DirecTV blackout affecting three ABC North Dakota affiliates started just before the NBA Finals and is still going now that the championship series has ended. In a message to viewers, Forum Communications said the ongoing negotiations with DirecTV have been frustrating but that the standoff is "not about greed."
"In the latest offer we have on the table, we feel like we are offering DirecTV a fair price for an exceptional product. They have made demands we legally can't meet and we have countered. The ball is currently in their court," Mari Ossenfort, vice president of broadcasting at Forum Communications, wrote.
The three stations' current carriage agreement with DirecTV expired March 31, but it was extended through June 1 while talks continued. As of now, WDAY-TV in Fargo, WDAZ-TV in Devils Lake and KBMY in Bismarck are all still blacked out for DirecTV customers in North Dakota.
For its part, DirecTV says it understands viewers' frustrations concerning the blacked out stations, but insisted those channels can still be accessed elsewhere.
"Forum is prohibiting its signals from reaching these customers' homes unless they receive a significant increase in their current fees just to let the same families keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air and often online at ABC.com or CWTV.com," DirecTV said previously in a statement.
In its Frequently Asked Questions section, Forum pulls Dish Network into the impasse, pointing out that Dish and DirecTV combined have dropped 201 stations since 2015 and 88 so far in 2016.
Indeed, Dish is currently embroiled in some retransmission drama of its own. Dish and Tribune Broadcasting are currently seeking a new carriage deal -- but for now, 42 Tribune stations in 33 markets are blacked out for Dish subscribers. Last week, Dish asked Tribune to submit to binding arbitration in the negotiations, a request Tribune called "hollow" while suggesting the FCC monitor the negotiations in order to prove that Tribune has been negotiating in good faith.
Last week, Dish also dropped both the NFL Network and NFL RedZone after both parties could not come to terms on a new carriage agreement.
- read this Forum Communications post
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