The blackout on DirecTV by two Dispatch Broadcast Group stations in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, has entered its third week, with neither side reporting significant progress on a retransmission renewal.
Dispatch controls CBS affiliate WBNS-TV in Columbus and NBC affiliate WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. Both channels were pulled off DirecTV on Sept. 6, with DirecTV parent AT&T and Dispatch unable to come to terms on a new broadcast retransmission licensing agreement.
"We have even offered extensions in some circumstances and did so with AT&T/DirectTV in hopes that we would come to a fair resolution. However, it does not appear they were or are interested in expediting the negotiation for a fair resolution, hence why we are off their system,” said John Cardenas, president and general manager of WBNS-TV, to the Columbus Business Journal.
For its part, DirecTV has bigger fish to fry, with the satellite operator still working on a renewal deal with Raycom covering 54 network affiliates.
The Lobbying group American Television Alliance, meanwhile, has made the usual rhetorical use of the DirecTV-Dispatch dispute, accusing the broadcaster of taking NFL football as a hostage.
"Each year, football fans are used as pawns by big broadcasters to pad their wallets; this year we expect broadcasters to be even more aggressive as they stick it to fans to make up for shrinking advertising dollars," ATA spokesman Trent Duffy said in a statement.