DirecTV, Raycom Reach Retrans Deal

'Agreement in Principle' in Time for Opening NFL Kickoff
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DirecTV and Raycom Media resolved their six-day retransmission consent spat on Sunday, just in time for the afternoon slate of National Football League games.

Raycom went dark to DirecTV customers in 37 markets on Sept.1, with the two sides at loggerheads mainly over price. In a joint statement on Sunday, both sides said they had reached an agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, in time for the 1 p.m. kickoff of the opening weekend for the NFL.

DirecTV had claimed that Raycom was demanding a doubling of the price it had previously charged for its 43 stations. In announcing the agreement, DirecTV, a big critic of rising sports and retransmission consent costs, managed to get that point across.

“We thank all of our affected customers for their patience over these past several days and regret that Raycom and too many other broadcast stations are willing to resort to these contrived blackouts to antagonize the public rather than serve it,” DirecTV chief content officer Dan York, said in a statement. “Broadcast station groups who ransom their content back into their communities at exorbitant fees deserve the scrutiny of the Federal Communications Commission and local Congressional representatives. Raycom's intentional recent black outs of Dish, Cox and now DirecTV customers creates an even greater sense of urgency for lawmakers to review and overhaul this anti-consumer retransmission consent process once and for all.”

In a statement issued at 11:45 a.m. on Sept. 7, Raycom said it had an agreement in principle with DirecTV and that service would be restored to DirecTV subscribers within two hours.

The company said it would work with DirecTV “over the next few days to finalize the full agreement.”

In a statement, Raycom Media CEO, Paul McTear expressed appreciation to viewers for their patience during the dispute.

"We apologize for the inconvenience and thank them for their loyalty to their local stations throughout this process,” McTear said in the statement. “We are very pleased to be, once again, serving them on the DirecTV system and will keep them informed as we work to finalize this agreement."