Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for DirecTV Subscribers
UPDATE ON NEGOTIATIONS WITH DIRECTV
For the last few weeks, we have been telling viewers through on-air messages, commercials, and information posted on kdrv.com that AT&T/DirecTV’s contract with KDRV was set to expire. On August 10, 2016, KDRV’s parent company, Heartland Media/USA Television, significantly lowered its fee requests in an effort to avoid AT&T/DirecTV dropping the retransmission of its stations in Medford, Oregon (KDRV), Eugene, Oregon (KEZI), Tupelo, Mississippi (WTVA), and Utica, New York (WKTV). The latest fee offer by Heartland and USA Television was in fact 19.5% (in 2016), 17% (in 2017) and 18.4% (in 2018) lower than the fees AT&T/DirecTV has acknowledged it is paying to lower rated stations in the same markets served by KDRV, KEZI, WTVA, and WKTV. Notably, every other cable and satellite company in the country has agreed to similar fees and contract terms as those being sought by Heartland/USA Television.
Sadly, AT&T/DirecTV’s failure to bargain in good faith over fees and other contract issues has resulted in the loss of these stations in the Medford, Eugene, Tupelo, and Utica markets. The only rationale offered by AT&T/DirecTV for its actions is that the parent companies that own KDRV, KEZI, WTVA and WKTV are not as large as the parent companies that own some of the lower rated stations in the markets served by KDRV, KEZI, WTVA and WKTV. AT&T/DirecTV has taken this position while at the same time agreeing that Heartland and USA Television’s stations are more highly rated with market-leading local newscasts, networks, and syndicated programming. In sum, this is truly a modern day Goliath attempting to bully a modern day David – a problem that was created by the controversial merger of AT&T and DirecTV.
Apparently we are not alone. Since January of this year, AT&T/DirecTV has been responsible for over 43% of the television service disruptions that have occurred in the satellite/cable industry. Nearly half of all of the television stations taken off-the-air are taken off by AT&T/DirecTV and the average size of the broadcast group they have bullied is seven stations.
The merger off AT&T and DirecTV last year created a $250 billion dollar plus company. Those that opposed the merger were concerned it would create such a behemoth that it would try and crush small broadcasters. AT&T/DirecTV has proven those concerns to be valid. Heartland Media and USA Television with only five stations is a victim of AT&T/DirecTV’s discriminatory tactics and bad faith bargaining. The principal owner of our company has been in broadcasting for over 25 years and never previously experienced a service disruption.
If you value the opportunity to view KDRV on DirecTV, we urge you to contact your Congressmen and Senators, the Federal Communications Commission, and AT&T/DirecTV (1-800-347-3288), and insist that AT&T/DirecTV bargain in good faith as required by federal law. You are paying AT&TDirecTV a fee for KDRV’s signal as part of your package, and you are not getting what you are paying for.
If you are a DirecTV subscriber and want to continue viewing KDRV, we urge you to consider changing your provider to DISH Network (800) 333-3474, Charter Cable (877) 906-9121, or the smaller cable companies of Northland Communications (Yreka and Mt. Shasta) (888) 842-2516, and Ashland Home Net (541) 488-9207. You can also watch KDRV for free over-the-air with an antenna, and can stream all NewsWatch 12’s live newscasts at kdrv.com or on your mobile device.
Thank you for your patience and support.
DirecTV accused of racketeering by small business owners.
What is happening to KDRV on DirecTV?
KDRV’s parent company, Heartland Media, and DirecTV are in the process of negotiating a renewal of the current retransmission agreement between KDRV and DirecTV. This agreement is scheduled to expire on August 10, 2016. Without a renewal, DirecTV will no longer carry KDRV’s programming and content. Over the past several months, KDRV’s owners have attempted to reach a new long-term agreement with DirecTV in the hopes of preventing any interruption of service for viewers. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to move forward with DirecTV, little progress has been made.
Why can't you reach an agreement?
For some reason, DirecTV has not been willing to negotiate appropriate market value retransmission compensation that other distributors are paying for KDRV’s content. Primarily, Heartland Media and DirecTV disagree on the value of KDRV’s programming and content. DirecTV resells this same content to you, the subscriber, yet refuses to compensate at a fair market value the highly rated and award-winning programming that KDRV produces every day for its viewers.
Why should DirecTV have to pay to carry television stations that are available for free over-the-air?
KDRV is available over-the-air for free to our viewers, but our signal is not free to pay services such as DirecTV that repackage our signals and sell them to their subscribers. In fact, the law requires cable and satellite providers to obtain consent for the right to carry broadcast stations and to compensate them in exchange for granting their consent.
Don't television stations benefit from being available on satellite providers?
All channels benefit from being carried on a cable or satellite system. Cable and satellite systems like DirecTV generally pay for the right to carry stations and networks. We are simply asking to be treated fairly in being compensated. The right to request payment is something that the U.S. Congress has explicitly authorized.
Is there anything I can do to keep KDRV on DirecTV?
The best thing you can do is to let DirecTV know that they need to keep local channels like KDRV on their system to retain you as a customer. You have alternatives and you should let them know that you will use them if they don't provide the same level of programming as their competition.
If this can't be resolved and the stations aren't carried on DirecTV, how can I watch KDRV?
Although we understand and apologize for the inconvenience caused by this to our viewers, you still have several ways to watch KDRV. KDRV is available free over-the-air by antenna on channel 12.1, and on Charter Cable (877) 906-9121, DISH Network (800) 333-3474, and the smaller cable companies of Northland Communications (Yreka and Mt. Shasta) (888) 842-2516, and Ashland Home Net (541) 488-9207. Most people have the option to use an antenna to receive KDRV over-the-air for free. Alternatively you can cancel your DirecTV service and choose to go with one of DirecTV’s cable or satellite competitors.
How much money is involved?
The negotiations are still taking place, but what we can tell you is that the fees we’re requesting are a very small percentage of the average bill paid by DirecTV’s subscribers. Heartland Media is requesting to be paid far lower fees than what DirecTV currently pays for other lower rated programming.
If the increase is that small why isn’t DirecTV agreeing to pay it?
That's a great question, but you would have to ask DirecTV. In fact, we suggest you get in touch with them to ask them just that. Who wouldn't agree to a nominal fee per day for your whole family to receive some of the most popular, widely watched programming on television? You can call DirecTV customer support at 1-800-DIRECTV (800-347-3288).