If you’re in one of the cities with a Hearst-owned local station, you probably don’t need me to tell you that you’ve lost that station. DIRECTV’s contract negotiations with Hearst Television didn’t get wrapped up by the end of the year, and as is customary. Hearst required DIRECTV to pull those stations until an agreement can be reached.
Yeah, let me say that again more clearly. DIRECTV didn’t want to do it, DIRECTV didn’t just do it, DIRECTV was forced to do it. That’s how these things go. If the lawyers at Hearst wanted to, they could have let you enjoy your local channels while negotiations were ongoing. That happens all the time, but it didn’t happen this time.
What’s the holdup? It’s money of course. Hearst wants more of it even though the ratings on their stations are down overall. I’m sure there’s more to it than that — these negotiations are extremely complex now, considering streaming and on demand rights — but in the end it comes down to money.
When you look at it that way, DIRECTV seems like the good guy here. They’re the ones fighting to keep your bill low. Depending on how you do your accounting, up to half of your bill passes from DIRECTV straight to the companies that provide programming to them, and the other half has to pay for all that satellite stuff that makes it possible for you to watch. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, is a for-profit company so obviously some money is going to go to the stockholders, but there isn’t a whole lot left otherwise and so any increases in programming costs translate out to higher bills for you. That’s what DIRECTV’s lawyers are fighting to avoid.
It’s pretty likely the blackout won’t last long, since it includes network affiliates in highly populated areas. Still, if you don’t want to roll the dice, you should definitely get an antenna from Solid Signal so that you’ll never lose local TV again. A TV antenna is a one-time purchase that will let you get your local channels for free forever. With an antenna, you never have to worry about station blackouts because you’re always covered. Plus, you’ll discover dozens of channels you never knew about, from classic TV to local news to shopping and movies… ALL FREE!
If you’re curious, here’s the list of Hearst-owned stations, courtesy of Wikipedia.