With Deadline to Go Dark Fast Approaching, DirecTV and Belo Still Haven't Settled Dispute
The ongoing fee fight between DirecTV and Fox -- which is threatening to yank Fox Sports Southwest and FX and its myriad other cable networks off the satellite provider -- isn't settled yet; and, who knows, it may not before the midnight hour. Also unresolved: DirecTV's battle with Belo, which, as we mentioned earlier this month, could cost local subscribers WFAA, at least for a little while. These things usually work themselves out at the last minute, but with the last minute quickly approaching, I thought we'd check in with Mike Devlin, general manager at the ABC affiliate.
"Negotiations still continue, and we're hopeful we can come to a fair settlement," says Devlin, who posted this heads-up to WFAA viewers explaining the station's side of the story. "Our position really hasn't changed: It's unreasonable that one of the most-watched channels on DirecTV is not one of the higher compensated, so for us it's a fundamental issue of fairness. if you look at Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC -- those four are the highest-viewed. Yet we're among the lowest in terms of compensation when you look at a lowly viewed cable outfit."
He wouldn't dare predict what'll happen come midnight Tuesday; he says compared to the fight with Fox, at least Belo's brawl isn't as "acrimonious." But, he reminds: There's much to be worked out between now and dark-thirty: "When you agree on your financials, there's also a whole list of other elements, which are seemingly boring. But this isn't about agreeing on an amount. These are multiyear agreements, and the entire world has changed, between the Internet, video-on-demand. There's lot of elements they have to go into."
Messages have been left for DirecTV reps to see how they think it's going.
Update at 5:47 p.m.: As a Friend of Unfair Park points out in the comments, Fox and DirecTV have just settled.