The temporary disappearance of certain network screens from cable or satellite services has become an annoyance to subscribers, as disputes are increasingly taking place between channels and the companies that deliver them to viewers.
In the latter example, some DirecTV subscribers have found CBS programs inaccessible. As the New York Times and other sources have reported, the problem arises from AT&T and CBS fails to agree on a new contract.
Although many DirecTV subscribers could not see CBS, starting Saturday, DirecTV subscribers who see KOIN, Portland-based CBS affiliate, have been blacked out since early July.
The question "how did it happen?" the question, says the KOIN website:
"We negotiated and offered several times to expand our current agreement while we were vigorously trying to give both parties more time to reach a fair deal. Unfortunately, DIRECTV and AT & T U verse continued deny our request, and therefore your service was abruptly interrupted. "
In a video, KOIN anchor Jennifer Hoff says that DirecTV rejected an offer from the station's parent company, Nexstar, to continue the service.
On his website, AT&T says about the dispute: "Nexstar will almost double the transfer fees we pay, which we cannot accept while still giving you choice and value. We have spent the last few weeks making more suggestions good faith, but Nexstar is still trying to force us to accept an unreasonable price point by knowing that it can directly affect you. "
As Bloomberg reports:
" AT&T is trying to limit cost increases on its pay TV division, which has lost its customers in recent years, AT & T lost 627,000 customers in the first quarter of this year, in July AT & T responded to 120 stations operated by Nexstar Media Group Inc., including local subsidiaries of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, in a similar programming cost dispute. "
The AT&T site allows customers to enter their ZIP code to see how the market is affected. Here's what comes up when you enter, for example, a Portland postcode:
"We had hoped to prevent Nexstar from withdrawing KOIN-CBS from our Portland customer's lineups, and we offered Nexstar more money to keep it available. Nexstar just said no and chose to remove it instead. Nexstar has chosen to keep our customers in Portland hostages and put them in the center of the negotiations, this is the same old Nexstar game book. They are pulling or threatening to withdraw signals from customers from many distributors to increase the fees for "free TV stations" that far exceed the value. They have made it to Cox Cable, DISH and the Charter Spectrum and reach us. "
While waiting for the media companies to come to an appointment, AT & T suggests other display options for KOIN, including watching air on channel 6, streaming from the station's website or CBS.com, or streaming shows via CBS All Access.
Meanwhile, CBS and AT & T continue to argue over contract terms that affect DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT & T U-verse customers in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
"After months of negotiations, CBS simply looks to receive real value for its popular programming, and suggests financial terms similar to those that AT & T's competitors have accepted in hundreds of our latest distribution agreements. The agreement that expired last night was signed in 2012 and is not close to today's fair market conditions for CBS content – as AT & T's competitors have repeatedly agreed. "
Not surprisingly, AT&T has something different version of the situation. On its website, a statement says, in part:
"This is totally CBS's decision," adds, "CBS has removed many of the same local stations for DISH Network and Charter Spectrum customers before. They have also threatened to remove drives from hundreds of thousands of other viewers to try to increase the fees. "
Although each page claims to be right, there is no doubt that viewers get tired of these battles. On Twitter, viewers share such feelings as:
"Dear @ DIRECTV I finally end my patience without having my local CBS channel in Portland. I'll just wait very shortly before calling to XFinity. If you want my business, you need to fix the problem. "
Another Twitter user responded to a non-Portland viewer annoyed by blackout:
" Same problem in Portland with KOIN 6 I am with you, fix it or I'm gone. "
Someone else is already worried about watching football:
" @DIRECTV better get the local Portland Oregon channel KOIN 6 to find out when football season comes here or you are
Fans of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" also speak up:
" @CBSTweet Nexstar, who owns my local CBS affiliate, just dropped AT & Ts Direct TV. watch all your shows and are a big fan of The Late Show. This is a terrible situation and I am very upset about this. I live in Portland, OR. All you can do? "
And fans of daytime TV aren't happy either:
" I still want to be able to look at my Directv channel in Portland, Oregon! I miss the price is right !!! "
– Kristi Turnquist
firstname.lastname@example.org 503-221-8227 @Kristiturnquist
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