Fight over fees leaves many without NBC programs

Fight over fees leaves many without NBC programs
Posted at 11:21 AM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 12:19:22-05

CINCINNATI -- A fight over fees left many DirecTV customers in Greater Cincinnati without NBC programming to start the new year.

Hearst Television, parent company of local NBC affiliate WLWT-TV, couldn't strike a deal with DirecTV, saying the satellite television provider wanted to carry its programming at "below market rates."

DirecTV, like other cable and satellite operators, has to get permission to carry a channel among its lineup, and the channel's owner can ask to be paid in return.

Hearst started warning customers a blackout was possible last week; the channel went dark on DirecTV at midnight Saturday. The New York-based company also has ABC and CBS affiliates among its 32 television stations in 28 cities.

"We regret the inconvenience DirecTV's demands have caused its subscribers, and we will keep you fully informed of developments," Hearst Television said in a statement.

It's not the first time Hearst has let its stations go dark because of "retransmission consent" disputes. As recently as 2014, Hearst reached an impasse with Dish Network over the same issue.

DirecTV argued Hearst was asking for a "significant increase in fees."

“We want to get our customers’ usual local broadcast stations back into their lineups and share their frustration," parent company AT&T said.

The fights apparently happen so often DirecTV has an entire website dedicated to the issue.

WLWT-TV's signal is still available for free over the air.