DirecTV and U-Verse threatened with Meredith blackout

Blackout

The nation’s third largest station group says it will pull its 15 network affiliates off DirecTV if a new broadcast retransmission deal can’t be hammered out today.

Meredith Corp. began informing its viewers Thursday that it’s at an impasse on a new deal with AT&T for the two pay-TV platforms. 

"WNEM has been trying for months to get AT&T and DirecTV to negotiate seriously," said Al Blinke, general manager of Flint/Saginaw, Michigan, CBS affiliate WNEM-TV. "Reaching a deal and preventing a blackout is our top priority."

Sponsored by IBM

Webinar: Delighting Viewers with Content: Cloud Enabled Remote Production

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | 12pm EST / 9am PST
IBM Aspera's multi-cloud roots enables broadcasters to move terabytes of video content at maximum speed, allowing production teams around the world to co-create, untethered by location. Hear how Fox Sports delighted millions of Super Bowl LIV and 2019 FIFA World Cup viewers by producing more content than ever, delivered to viewers across broadcast and web devices alike.

AT&T spokeswoman Teresa Mask responded to local news site Michigan Live: "Meredith is currently threatening to block WNEM from reaching our local customers' homes unless Meredith receives a significant increase in fees, even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air on channel 5 and, typically, at cbs.com or using the CBS app.”

RELATED: DirecTV’s blackouts in Indianapolis and Columbus drag into third week

Meredith also controls CBS affiliates in Phoenix, Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut, Atlanta, Springfield, Massachusetts, Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Louis. It also has several ABC and FOX affiliate stations in its portfolio. 

AT&T is also currently blacked out by two Midwestern affiliates owned by Dispatch Broadcast Group: Columbus, Ohio, CBS affiliate WBNS-TV and Indianapolis NBC station WTHR-TV.

In its statement, Meredith used AT&T’s corporate girth to position itself as the underdog. 

"WNEM may not be as important to AT&T and DirecTV as it was when AT&T and DirecTV were far smaller," he said. "But we believe WNEM is just as important to you, our viewers, no matter how large your cable or satellite company is."

Suggested Articles

It’s been almost a year since we last broke down the timeline for price increases at YouTube TV, AT&T TV Now and other virtual MVPDs.

Sling TV is responding to new price increases from competitors YouTube TV and fuboTV by offering its subscribers a one-year rate guarantee.

Peacock has reached a deal with ViacomCBS to carry CBS and Showtime series along with Paramount films when it launches.