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DirecTV, Hearst Gird for Retrans Battle

Hearst Television is preparing DirecTV subscribers in 28 markets for the worst, informing customers of the satellite TV service over the last few days that if they can’t come to terms on a retransmission agreement before the end of the year, they will lose access to their stations.

Hearst owns and operates about 33 stations in 28 markets across the country, including Boston (ABC affiliate WCVB); Pittsburgh (ABC affiliate WTAE); New Orleans (NBC affiliate WDSU); Baltimore (NBC affiliate WBAL) and Orlando, Fla. (NBC affiliate WESH).

News for the retrans talks was first reported by

On its station websites, Hearst said it is currently in negotiations with DirecTV and that customers could lose their broadcast signal if a deal isn’t reached. “Hearst has a long history of successfully concluding carriage agreements with cable companies and other satellite distributors with no disruption of service to subscribers,” the company said on its WBAL website. “While we believe that we and DirecTV can conclude our negotiations before January 1st, so as not to deprive any of our respective viewers and customers of our programming, we want to advise our viewers and customers that the possibility of non-renewal of our current agreement exists.”

DirecTV declined to comment.

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(Photo via Tariqmudallal. Image taken on May 12, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 3.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)