AT&T faces Raycom blackout in retrans row | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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In the latest row in the US stemming from an impasse on retransmission consent agreement renewals, Raycom Media Stations have gone dark on the AT&T U-Verse network in 23 markets.

According to Raycom, it was the fifth time that U-Verse subscribers have lost broadcast signals since AT&T merged with DirecTV in the summer of 2015; in contrast, the company said that it has avoided disruption with 99.5% of its operators for the last three years, including the successful negotiation of 11 retrans agreements last year alone.

“We never want our communities to experience a disruption,” said Pat LaPlatney, Raycom Media president and CEO. “These retransmission consent agreements are important free-market negotiations that sustain broadcast localism. It is unfortunate that AT&T U-Verse appears to be involving their customers in their broader business strategy.”

For its part, AT&T played down Raycom’s value. “We want to get our U-verse customers’ usual local stations back into their line-ups as soon as possible. Doing so requires permission from each station’s owner, including Raycom Media, since FCC rules grant Raycom exclusive control over whether its stations remain available on U-verse,” said the telco giant in a statement.

“We share our customers’ frustration because Raycom is deliberately preventing its stations from reaching their homes until Raycom receives a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air and, typically, online at each network’s website or using those network’s apps.”