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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

KHOU, WFAA, KVUE & KENS' battle with DirecTV


It seems that Texas TV company Belo is in a dispute with DirecTV over carriage of its stations. And those are some pretty big stations in Texas - WFAA, KHOU, KENS and KVUE. At dispute is the amount of money Belo gets from DirecTV for carrying its channels. The TV group argues lesser watched cable channels get a higher level of compensation than its highly watched stations.

That means if a deal is not reached by November 1, you won't see Belo stations on the satellite TV carrier.

Each Belo station has a page on its site dedicated to the issue. Here is some of KHOU's message:

KHOU/CBS have far more viewers on DIRECTV than any single cable channel. Yet KHOU and CBS do not receive the same level of compensation as many lesser-viewed channels. We do not believe that is fair.
DIRECTV and other video providers regularly pay for content from broadcast and cable stations. DIRECTV is undervaluing KHOU/CBS programming…paying more to some cable channels with far fewer viewers. We don’t think that’s fair, and are asking for a level playing field.
We are working to reach a fair agreement and provide as soon as possible, the programming that our viewers value. Any disruption in carriage impacts only DIRECTV customers. No other viewers are impacted. We are working hard to resolve this issue and arrive at an agreement that benefits our valued Houston viewers.
We have also reached comparable agreements with other service providers in Houston.
If we are unable to secure an agreement with DIRECTV, customers who subscribe to the satellite provider’s services will not be able to view KHOU and therefore will need to use our free, over-the-air signal or other video providers (depending on availability) such as DISH Network, a cable company, or a telephone service such as Verizon FiOS or AT&T U-Verse.

Read messages from WFAA, KENS and KVUE.

The Idaho Statesman has an article based on Belo station KTVB's issues with DirecTV. Here is what a spokesperson for DirecTV told the paper:

DirecTV says KTVB is using scare tactics to get more leverage in talks. A warning shot is “something [Belo Corp.] did during similar talks with Time Warner Cable and Dish Network last year,” said Darris Gringeri, a spokesman for DirecTV. “None of those customers ever lost access to Belo stations, and we expect the same positive result here.”
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