DirecTV reaches deal with Dispatch Video, pleads to Raycom: 'Let the people see pro football'

DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) has renewed its broadcast retransmission deal with Dispatch Video, putting it back on the air on Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR and Columbus, Ohio indie WBNS, and ending a four-day blackout.

Terms of the deal were not announced.  DirecTV still remains blacked out on 53 Raycom Media stations in a retrans impasse that also culminated with a blackout on Monday, Sept. 1.

The late-Thursday announcement of the Dispatch Video deal culminated a flurry of announcements from the satellite operator, which used the opening of the NFL regular season to ply urgency to the negotiations. Earlier, in a deft PR move, DirecTV issued a public plea to Dispatch Video and Raycom Media to disrupt their blackouts long enough over the NFL's opening weekend to let subscribers in affected cities see their games.

DirecTV also used its proclamation to let everyone know that Thursday night's opening-season game between the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers would be streamed by NBC and available for authenticated viewing by DirecTV subscribers.

"People in great NFL cities like Indianapolis, Cleveland and New Orleans avidly support their local teams in many ways, including with public monies to keep these teams within their home communities," said Dan York, chief content officer for DirecTV. "To now have two local broadcasters deliberately deny these fans the freedom to watch the home teams they've helped preserve is simply atrocious." 

York added, "We ask nothing more than for these two station groups to set aside their egregious pricing demands for access to 'free' over-the-air TV signals for a few hours, abide by their license to serve the public interest and allow their own viewers to enjoy their NFL and NCAA football games."

DirecTV is offering to compensate the stations later on based on the retrans rate they ultimately agree to.

If the blackout continues through this weekend, DirecTV subscribers in NFL markets including Cleveland, Indianapolis and New Orleans could be blacked out of key games.

For more:
- read this DirecTV press release

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