Cable and satellite companies pay retransmission fees to air broadcast networks although those networks are technically free online, on apps and via an antenna. In this case, neither side could agree on a deal by a Feb. 2 deadline.
WSB-TV has also been off the air from satellite rival Dish TV since November 2022. That dispute has been unresolved for more than 14 months.
DirecTV has been one of the most aggressive operators when it comes to negotiating deals with owners of broadcast and cable stations. It just concluded a six-week dispute with TEGNA, which recently kept 11Alive in Atlanta off the air for subscribers.
Both sides are under major financial pressure as millions of households each year drop cable and satellite subscriptions in favor of streaming services.
Since 2019, CMG has been majority owned by private equity firm Apollo Global Management but has been able to use the Cox name because Cox Enterprises, which also owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, maintains a minority stake in the company.
In a statement, DirecTV said “CMG is playing chicken with the industry, willfully ignoring the economics that its programming does not warrant a double-digit annual rate increase on top of an already exorbitant fee structure.”
In their own press release, CMG quoted Marian Pittman, executive vice president for CMG: “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. Now DirecTV is at it again. We call on DirecTV to stop holding viewers hostage to its anti-consumer agenda.”