DirecTV Loses Local Cox Stations in Carriage Dispute Affecting Millions in 9 Markets

DirecTV and Cox Media Group have been negotiating a new rights deal, but an impasse has led to Cox’s local television stations being removed from the satellite cable provider as the negotiations remain unresolved. It includes 12 stations in nine metro areas, according to DirecTV, which Cox has said affects millions of customers. Cox’s stations include local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates.

Both sides claim to have sought an extension to discussions, with each blaming the other for declining their offers. According to a DirecTV statement, Cox “pulled its 12 stations,” while a Cox statement said that DirecTV had dropped the company’s local outlets. Cox also stated that its stations are the most popular channels on the provider’s lineup.

DirecTV “has already dropped hundreds of stations over the last few months, and this latest drop is a continuation of its ongoing mission against local journalism,” a statement from Cox reads. It goes on to attack the satellite cable provider for keeping “millions of consumers from accessing the vital local news, emergency information, weather, traffic, sports and entertainment programming that CMG’s TV stations provide.”

Meanwhile, DirecTV noted that this was an “all too familiar path” for Cox, noting that it pulled its channels from DirecTV during a renewal dispute in 2021 and that a deal was reached just hours before that year’s Super Bowl. It noted that Cox channels were taken off rival Dish Network back in November 2022 and have yet to return, also citing either threats or the channels being removed from a variety of other cable providers.

“CMG is playing chicken with the industry,” DirecTV argued in a statement, “willfully ignoring the economics that its programming does not warrant a double-digit annual rate increase on top of an already exorbitant fee structure. By pulling its stations, CMG intends to penalize its viewers twice — once when pulling the programming and again when they return it at an unwarranted higher rate — adding insult to injury.”

“While we’ve been signing dozens of fair-market carriage deals that bring our high-quality programming to more than 50 million viewers, DirecTV has been dropping hundreds of TV stations and depriving its customers of the local content they want and paid DirecTV for,” Cox EVP Marian Pittman said in a statement. “We call on DirecTV to stop holding viewers hostage to its anti-consumer agenda.”

Cox called on viewers to call DirecTV to demand it bring back their stations, as well as suggesting they drop the provider and switch to one of Cox’s other partners, which include Xfinity, Spectrum, Verizon/FIOS TV, YouTube TV and Hulu+Live TV. Meanwhile, DirecTV pointed consumers toward information on how to watch Cox’s same programming for free over-the-air, through local station websites and via network streaming apps through its TV Promise website.

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