DirecTV faces 'unbridgeable chasm' in retrans talks with small broadcasters, group says

A group of smaller broadcasters has filed an emergency petition against DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) with the FCC, claiming the satellite TV operator isn't negotiating retransmission licensing in good faith.

The complaint was filed last week by Northwest Broadcasting, Broadcasting Licenses, Mountain Licenses, Stainless Broadcasting, Eagle Creek Broadcasting of Laredo, Bristlecone Broadcasting and Blackhawk Broadcasting.

They claim to have reached an "unbridgeable chasm" in negotiations with DirecTV over broadcast retransmission rights, and that the pay-TV operator is irrational in its strident price position. 

The group claims it's able to support its price position with cold, hard market data, but that DirecTV has not revealed any substance to its stance. The group claims DirecTV is in violation of current laws that require programmers and pay-TV operators to negotiate based on current market conditions. 

The "TV Station Group," as the collective of small-market broadcasters is known, says it has been trying to hammer out a deal with DirecTV since last year. The group also told the FCC it's now on "life support" with its ability to sustain carriage on the satellite company's program guide, having already agreed to myriad short-term contract extensions. 

For its part, DirecTV said it "continues to work in good faith with Northwest Broadcasting and looks forward to reaching an agreement." 

For more:
- read this Rapid TV News story
- read this Multichannel News story

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Dish retrans impasse with Dispatch Broadcast could lead to affiliate blackouts in Indy
DirecTV blacked out by Quincy Newspapers in 10 Midwest markets

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