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DirecTV, AT&T TV, and AT&T TV NOW Lose Tegna TV Stations After Companies Failed to Reach New Agreement

Stephanie Sengwe

Yet another carriage dispute has surfaced. DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, AT&T TV, and AT&T TV NOW have dropped channels owned by Tegna after failing to reach an agreement. Their old contract ended back in November, but an extension ending yesterday was filed. Evidently, the two companies still couldn’t reach a resolution and have decided to halt their business dealings for now.

The carriage dispute removes roughly 60 Tegna television stations from AT&T customers including locals in Denver, Washington DC, San Diego, Hartford, Tampa, Jacksonville, and others.

“Unfortunately, DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse have not come to an agreement with Tegna to keep our stations available on their services. Our company has successfully negotiated multi-year deals with hundreds of cable and satellite providers across the country without disruptions to service,” Tegna said in a statement.

“While we remain hopeful that this will get resolved quickly, our viewers should know that our channels are available on other service providers in their community as well as many streaming services that offer instant access when viewers sign up. As always, our stations are also available for free over-the-air and viewers can watch our newscasts live on our stations’ websites, Roku and mobile apps.”

In their own statement, AT&T stated, “In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, Tegna is demanding the largest rate increase we have ever seen and intentionally blacking out its most loyal viewers. We challenge Tegna to return its local stations immediately while we finalize a new agreement and pledge to pay Tegna retroactively whatever higher rates to which we eventually agree. We share our customers’ frustration, appreciate their patience and intend to do all we can to resolve this matter soon.”

The dispute doesn’t bode well for AT&T. The company has been hemorrhaging subscribers by the quarter for the last year and a half. In Q3 2020, AT&T TV NOW lost 37,000 subscribers, bringing the company to 683,000 subscribers in total. Last quarter, AT&T TV NOW lost an 68,000 subscribers leaving them with just 720,000 (after a peak 1.85 million subscribers in September 2018).

Overall, AT&T is now down to 17.8 million video connections, down 637K in total — 590K of those coming from DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse. It’s a slight improvement from the nearly a million connections (972K) they lost in Q2.

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