Tegna Stations Pulled Off Verizon Fios (Updated)

Tegna HQ in McLean, Va.
(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This article was updated on Jan. 8 to include a response from Tegna.

Tegna stations in four markets were pulled off Verizon Fios Tuesday, with the station group and pay TV operator unable to reach agreement on a new broadcast retransmission consent contract.  

The blackout involves Tegna stations in Washington, D.C. (CBS affiliate WUSA); Norfolk, Va. (ABC affiliate WVEC); Buffalo, N.Y. (NBC affiliate WGRZ); and Harrisburg, Penn. (Fox affiliate WPMT).

"As of January 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET, Tegna failed to agree to fair terms of its contract with Verizon. Unfortunately, Tegna has a reputation for this type of practice with providers, which ultimately results in pulling content from viewers," Verizon said in a statement. 

Added Tegna: “We have been working for months to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Verizon based on the competitive terms we’ve used to reach deals with other major providers. We even offered Verizon an extension that kept our stations available to viewers through the holiday weekend. We are especially disappointed that Verizon has pulled access at a time when local broadcast stations are a lifeline, connecting people to the news, information, and entertainment they need and want most. We hope that Verizon realizes how important our stations are to their subscribers and works with us to reach a fair agreement.” 

On Monday, Tegna and Verizon Communications said they had agreed to extend their retransmission consent negotiations for a handful of stations until 6 p.m. January 4, holding out some hope that a long-term deal can be reached.

Currently more than 60 Tegna stations in 53 markets are also embroiled in a retransmission dispute with Dish Network.

The American Television Alliance, whose members include Verizon and Dish, as well as cable operators, cable networks, and others, said the Verizon impasse was just another example of Tegna's unreasonable demands and called for Congress and the FCC to reform retrans rules, which has been the alliance's principal goal. “American consumers cannot continue to be used as private leverage to extort higher fees for broadcast conglomerates like Tegna," said the group. ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!