DirecTV loses TEGNA stations, including Atlanta’s 11Alive, over contract dispute

The blackout began Thursday, Nov. 30.
TEGNA stations including 11Alive (WXIA-TV) in Atlanta, have gone dark for DirecTV customers over a payment dispute.



TEGNA stations including 11Alive (WXIA-TV) in Atlanta, have gone dark for DirecTV customers over a payment dispute.

On Thursday, dozens of TEGNA-owned TV stations including 11Alive and WATL-TV (The ATL) in Atlanta, were blacked out for DirecTV subscribers.

DirecTV reaches fewer than 12 million subscribers via its traditional satellite hookup, its DirecTV stream, and its U-Verse cable systems. About 40% of that customer base has been impacted.

The two sides can’t agree on how much money DirecTV should pay for access to TEGNA’s 64 broadcast stations in 51 markets nationwide.

A similar dispute happened that blacked out the same stations for nearly three weeks in December 2020.

This weekend, 11Alive is airing soccer, PGA golf and skiing and snowboarding. DIrecTV viewers could also end up missing the Sunday night NFL football matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers.

If the blackout extends into next week, impacted viewers will miss new episodes of “The Voice,” “Quantum Leap,” “Found,” “Magnum P.I.” and “Christmas at the Opry.”

“TEGNA continues to demand the highest retransmission consent rates in the industry and routinely uses blackouts to try to get them,” said DirecTV in a statement provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday evening.

TEGNA, in response, provided this statement: “Despite months of effort, DirecTV has refused to reach a fair, market-based agreement with TEGNA. As a result, DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse customers will lose access to NFL and college football conference championship games, as well as some of the most popular national network programming and top-rated local news. We urge DIRECTV to continue to negotiate with us until a deal is reached that restores our stations to their customers.”

These blackouts happen every so often as both distributors like DirecTV and TV station owners like TEGNA grapple with reduced viewership as more people watch their programming through streaming services. A survey in March by digital marketing agency Adtaxi showed more people watch TV via streaming than traditional TV.