DirecTV blacked out by 8 more network affiliates amid Heartland Media dispute

DirecTV

DirecTV has opened another front in its broadcast retransmission fee battle with broadcasters, with eight Heartland Media stations blacked out on the satellite TV service. 

According to Heartland’s WKTV unit, which operates the network affiliates, DirecTV’s retrans deal with the company expired on August 10.

“As of midnight on August 11 DirecTV subscribers will no longer receive either WKTV's NBC, CBS, or CW stations,” said a Heartland statement. “There has been little progress in negotiations since WKTV first brought this to your attention last week."

“For some reason, DirecTV has not been willing to negotiate appropriate market value retransmission compensation that other distributors are paying for WKTV’s content,” Heartland added. “Primarily, Heartland Media and DirecTV disagree on the value of WKTV’s programming and content. DirecTV resells this same content to you, the subscriber, yet refuses to compensate at a fair market value the highly rated and award-winning programming that WKTV produces every day for its viewers.”

"We want to get the Heartland and USA Television stations back into our customers’ line-ups and share their frustration. The stations’ owners are prohibiting their signals from reaching their homes unless they receive a significant increase in their current fees just to let the same families keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air and often online," said DirecTV in a statement. "Most Columbus, Tupelo and Utica customers can continue to watch NBC’s Olympics coverage by streaming it live on NBCOlympics.com or using the NBC Sports Live Extra app for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs. We appreciate their patience as we work to get these stations back and attempt to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably."

The affected stations include three Oregon-based ABC affiliates, CBS and NBC stations in Utica, New York and NBC and Fox stations in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Earlier this week, DirecTV settled with Sunbeam Television on a retrans deal for Sunbeam’s Fox affiliate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but the operator is still blacked on Sunbeam NBC and CW affiliates in Boston. 

DirecTV is also blacked out on three ABC affiliates owned by Forum Communications in North Dakota. 

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