More than 50 local stations owned by Raycom Media went dark on DirecTV today after the two sides failed to reach a new carriage agreement. The companies also engaged in contentious negotiations three years ago before reaching a deal. Negotiations continue, Raycom said in a statement on its Web site."This is frustrating for DIRECTV customers who rely on Raycom stations for information and entertainment," Raycom Media CEO Paul McTear said. "We share their frustration and are committed to doing everything we can to resolve this issue and have been for the last 12 weeks of discussions."
DirecTV is defending its position on a specially branded Web site, directvpromise.com, accusing Raycom of unreasonable price hike demands. "Raycom Media is denying DIRECTV customers and some of its own most loyal viewers access to its local broadcast stations unless they pay more than double just to receive the same broadcast shows that remain available over the air for free," the company said. "We will always work to protect our customers and prevent them from enduring any unnecessary interruptions, no matter how brief." DirecTV noted that its customers in the affected markers will be able to watch NFL and college games uninterrupted.
Raycom owns more than 50 stations - affiliates of all broadcast networks in mid and small markets, including New Orleans, Charlotte, Savannah, Cincinnati and Memphis.