DirecTV customers in Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa could lose their ABC and CBS programs if a new contract isn't signed by March 31. Like their cable cousins, DirecTV is finding that broadcasters want more for their signals than free carriage and will use those signals as leverage in a dispute with a service provider.
DirecTV EVP of Programming Derek Chang issued a statement saying that the satellite provider is "negotiating in good faith to try to reach a resolution," but if nothing is resolved by the deadline "make no mistake, it will be solely and completely the station owner's (Citadel) decision to take the channels away from our customers."
DirecTV, which joined a coalition of service providers seeking federal help to stop broadcasters from using channel carriage as bargaining chips, recently resolved a programming dispute with Comcast-owned Versus. Broadcasters throughout the country are seeking to shore up sagging revenues by charging cable operators, telcos and satellite providers to carry signals that had, in many cases, been carried for free in the past.
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