DirecTV ends retrans dispute in Boston

Verizon's Boston FiOS rollout focuses on community, holistic use strategy

AT&T has resolved a retrans dispute that kept the Olympics off DirecTV in Boston.

The deal restored DirecTV access to Sunbeam TV-owned Boston NBC affiliate WHDH-TV, as well as CW affiliate station WLVI-TV. The two channels were blacked out on DirecTV’s program guide in mid-July, as was Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Fox affiliate WSVN-TV.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The two sides announced a deal for WSVN last week, but Boston remained unresolved as major programming events including the Rio Olympics and NFL pre-season games unfurled on the Peacock Network. 

“AT&T is pleased that Sunbeam Television has returned WHDH-NBC and WLVI-CW into our Boston customers’ line-ups so they are free to watch the Rio Olympics without any further inconvenience,” said an AT&T statement. “Yet, we also believe these two stations should have never been taken away in the first place, and companies like Sunbeam must end these intentional blackouts and focus on putting their viewers first instead.”

Added Paul Magnes, VP and general manager of WHDH, also in a statement: 

“We are pleased that we were able to negotiate a new agreement so that DirecTV customers can once again view 7News, this week’s Olympic events, and all of the other network and local programming on WHDH and WLVI.”

It was the second time in four years that a retrans dispute between Sunbeam and the satellite TV service had devolved into a blackout. 

Negotiations were undoubtedly complicated by the fact that WHDH is set to lose its NBC affiliation in January, with NBCUniversal set to launch an owned-and-operated station in the Boston market. 

For more:
- read this TV Predictions story
- read this Boston Globe story

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