Raycom, Dispatch Video pull broadcast channels off DirecTV

Broadcasters Raycom Media and Dispatch Video have pulled their channels off DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) after failing to come to a retrans agreement with the satellite operator by Aug. 31.

"KLTV has in place agreements with the cable and satellite companies that bring our station to your home," read a statement from Raycom's East Texas ABC affiliate. Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom operates 53 stations. "In fact, KLTV has such agreements in place with every TV provider in our area. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach an agreement with DirecTV. We continue diligently to work for a resolution of this matter, but so far have been unable to reach an Agreement with DirecTV for the continued carriage of KLTV."

For its part, Dispatch Video's Indianapolis-based NBC affiliate WTHR seems to be claiming that DirecTV has removed it from their system.

"Negotiations for a fair deal with DirecTV were unsuccessful and they have removed WTHR from their system," the station posted on its website Monday morning.

"Raycom Media is denying DirecTV customers and some of its own most loyal viewers access to its local broadcast stations unless they pay more than double just to receive the same broadcast shows that remain available over the air for free," reads DirecTV's response. "We will always work to protect our customers and prevent them from enduring any unnecessary interruptions, no matter how brief. We appreciate their patience since it has a direct impact on their bill. Despite Raycom's unnecessary blackout, NFL and college football fans can see all of the first few weeks' action uninterrupted, and the majority of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC series won't premiere for several more weeks."

A DirecTV spokesperson said Dispatch Video is seeking a "400 percent markup" to return its two channels to DirecTV's program guide.

Raycom engaged in similar retrans blackouts of Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Cox Communications last year, and also made blackout threats to DirecTV in 2013.

This most recent retrans dispute will most certainly fuel Senate lawmakers nonpartisan plan to dispense with broadcast retransmission licensing and impose a new system of direct-from-consumer payments called Local Choice.

For more:
- read this KLTV story
- read this WTHR story

Related links:
Raycom threatens DirecTV blackout
Local Choice fight ramps up as CBS refuses to run ATVA ads
Senate Republicans plug 'Local Choice' alternative to retransmission consent