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DirecTV Customers Lose Cox Media Stations In Latest Carriage Dispute

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DirecTV customers have now lost access to 12 stations owned by Cox Media Group as a result of a carriage dispute. A warning this could happen was issued last week when CMG confirmed that the two companies have so far failed to agree a new deal.

As part of that warning, CMG explained that the affected channels could be removed as early as February 2. Today, DirecTV confirmed that the dispute had escalated and resulted in DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-verse customers losing access to 12 stations in 9 metro areas. According to DirecTV, Cox Media Group pulled the stations “after rejecting the latest extension.”

DirecTV also suggested the removal of the channels was part of a pattern of behavior that CMG has used to secure higher rates, with DirecTV citing its own previous dispute with CMG in 2021, along with CMG’s ongoing dispute with Dish, and past situations with Fubo in 2023, Suddenlink in 2021, Comcast in 2020, and Frontier in 2018.

CMG is playing chicken with the industry, willfully ignoring the economics that its programming does not warrant a double-digit annual rate increase on top of an already exorbitant fee structure. By pulling its stations, CMG intends to penalize its viewers twice – once when pulling the programming and again when they return it at an unwarranted higher rate – adding insult to injury.’

In its own press release, Cox firmly put the blame on DirecTV, explaining that it was actually DirecTV who removed the channels and “after refusing CMG’s offer to extend negotiations.” Similar to DirecTV, Cox also pointed to DirecTV’s past disputes to highlight a pattern of behavior, suggesting DirecTV has “dropped hundreds of stations over the last few months” and that the current dispute is just the latest move in “its ongoing mission against local journalism.”

While we’ve been signing dozens of fair-market carriage deals that bring our high-quality programming to more than 50 million viewers, DirecTV has been dropping hundreds of TV stations and depriving its customers of the local content they want and paid DirecTV for,” said Marian Pittman, EVP of CMG. “Now DirecTV is at it again. We call on DirecTV to stop holding viewers hostage to its anti-consumer agenda.”

With both sides blaming each other, it remains to be seen how long this latest carriage dispute will remain in effect. However, both companies did make clear that they are committed to finding a new agreement. In the meantime, affected customers can visit DirecTV’s TV Promise website to see any updates on this situation, as well as DirecTV’s suggestions for accessing content during the dispute.

John Finn

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