Why This Happens

Here’s what you should know when disputes occur between local broadcast stations owners who provide the ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC networks, and TV providers like DIRECTV, who enable you to see your favorite shows at home.


DIRECTV pays programmers fees to carry their networks or local stations. When contracts come to an end, we negotiate new agreements, and the vast majority of the time you never hear about them. But sometimes programmers demand an increase that’s two, three, and even 10 times more what they’ve ever received before – and all for the exact same channels. We believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand and protect you from these excessive price increases so you don’t see an unnecessary increase to your family’s monthly bill.

DIRECTV Is By Your Side

By sticking up for average families and holding firm during disputes, DIRECTV has been able to keep its annual price increases to half the industry average. DIRECTV has your back and wants you to enjoy any ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC show you want – and at a reasonable price. Just imagine your family’s bill if we simply accepted an arbitrary fee demand for one local station, let alone the 1,580 with whom we partner. Your patience has a direct impact on your bill, and so while every dispute is often resolved quite quickly, we appreciate your support as we fight by your side.

Keeping You Connected

Local broadcast stations use the public airwaves for free as long as your Congressional representatives, the FCC and other officials believe they continue to serve your community’s public interest. Yet, broadcasters use blackouts or threats of blackouts to force your family to pay more and deny you access to what was once free network programming. They often blame the cable or satellite TV provider for taking the stations down, when the fact is that only the broadcast station has ability to withhold programming. DIRECTV cannot and will not take your ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC away from you in a programming dispute. Ever. And local stations that tell you differently, often using their own local newscasts, should lose their licenses for attempting to deceive your families.

Keeping More of Your Money in Your Pocket

Local broadcast stations forced a record 91 blackouts in 2012 compared to 51 blackouts in 2011 and a dozen more in 2010. Every year, stations keep doubling down in their efforts to extract huge new fees just to receive the same channels you can still get free over the air. These unnecessary fee demands cost families more than $1 billion in 2010 and will triple to more than $3.6 billion within the next five years, analysts say. Working together, we can keep more of your money in your pocket where it belongs.

Switching Is Never the Answer

None of the major TV providers is immune from local stations that feel entitled to shut off their most loyal viewers or manipulate the flow of your favorite shows. Even the highest ranking broadcast officials were forced to admit to Congress that these blackouts are unfair to the average family and so pressure continues to mount in Congress and the FCC to force self-destructive local stations to stop. In the past year, more than 850 mom-and-pop, single community cable operators joined DIRECTV – their largest competitor – to help bring an end to local stations treating customers like their personal ATM machines.