DirecTV and SJL Broadcasting reach retrans deal, end 6-station blackout

Blackout
SJL Broadcasting reportedly demanded a "dump truck filled with 100-dollar bills" to end a one-week blackout on DirecTV.

DirecTV has come to terms on a new broadcast retransmission licensing deal with family-owned SJL Broadcasting, ending a blackout on six network affiliates in three markets. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The blackout, which started April 1, affected stations in Elmira, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Honolulu, Hawaii. (Initial reports incorrectly had the blackout affecting all 12 SJL stations.)

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RELATED: DirecTV blacked out by 12 SJL Broadcasting network affiliates

SJL began posting messages on its station websites early last month, warning DirecTV subscribers of a possible service interruption.

“The SJL Broadcasting negotiating team has been ready and available around-the-clock to engage in substantive negotiations with DirecTV—in hopes of concluding a fair agreement that reflects the current marketplace,” the company said. 

A DirecTV statement, meanwhile, implied that the satellite carrier was the party that initiated the blackout in this instance.

“We want to get [the SJL stations] back into your lineup as soon as possible,” the operator said. “Doing so requires permission from its owner … since FCC rules grant (the channel) exclusive control over whether that station remains available on DirectTV. We share your frustration because (Lilly) is deliberately preventing (the station) from reaching your home.”

DirecTV’s satellite TV rival, Dish Network, is the leader in retrans blackouts among major TV services, but AT&T-owned DirecTV has its share. The company, for example, experienced a significant blackout by Hearst Television in January. 

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