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KIFI, CW East Idaho off DirecTV

By Staff Writer
Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:34:27 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 16 2013 06:49:48 PM CDT
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DirecTV subscribers can no longer see KIFI and CW East Idaho. Here are some answers to questions you may have about this situation. If your question is not answered here, email us at programming@localnews8.com.

1. Why has DirecTV stopped retransmitting the Stations’ signals?
The contract for carriage of the Stations by DirecTV expired at 11 a.m. MT Oct. 9, and so far, it has not been renewed by DIRECTV.

2. Why was the contract not renewed?
DirecTV refused to pay the Stations a fair price or agree to other reasonable terms for the right to retransmit and resell the Stations’ signals to its subscribers. The Stations, in fact, gave DirecTV an extension of the existing carriage contract in the hope a new agreement could be reached. Regrettably, that extension has expired without agreement by DirecTV, and DirecTV is no longer carrying the Stations.

3. But isn’t DirecTV only trying to hold down the price it pays the Stations and, in turn, keep down the price it charges its subscribers?
Certainly it is appropriate for DirecTV to minimize the price it pays for the privilege of reselling the signal of Stations such as ours to its subscribers. However, DirecTV, reportedly, pays five times more for significantly less popular program services than the price we are asking for our top rated Stations and all the channels we offer. DirecTV, a multi-billion dollar company, is, in effect, asking our Stations to subsidize its operations which will enable it to pay more for other programming services with whom we compete for the best entertainment, sports and news programming. There are other unacceptable demands, aside from rates, that DirecTV is making which no other cable or satellite company has made or is making. In short, it would be irresponsible for us to subsidize DirecTV’s cost of operation and grant it all the other financial benefits it is demanding.

4. But aren’t you just asking DirecTV for more money to enhance your profits?
No—absolutely not. We now have to pay our program suppliers significantly more for highly rated sports and entertainment programming because cable and satellite companies are paying higher rates to our competitors who, in turn, will try to outbid us for the best programs.

5. The upshot though is that DirecTV will raise rates for its subscribers if it pays you more, will it not?
DirecTV does not have to raise its subscriber rates in order to pay us competitive market rates for our signal. DirecTV can elect simply to pay less for the less popular channels you, as a subscriber, are forced to buy in order to get the channels you really want to watch.

6. Will DirecTV reduce our monthly bill since it is no longer offering your Stations?
It should, of course. But that is DirecTV’s decision; we have no control over it.

7. Is DirecTV’s offer to you consistent with offers you have accepted from cable TV and other satellite companies?
No—it is not. DirecTV’s demands are far greater than those asked of us by any other cable and satellite company—and, in fact, DirecTV’s multiple demands are considerably greater than any demand DirecTV has ever made of our Stations in the past. It is for that reason the negotiations with DirecTV reached an impasse.

8. So, as a DirecTV subscriber, how can I continue to receive the Stations and not miss my favorite program?
You can receive our Stations free, over-the-air. You can receive the Stations from local cable companies (depending on where you live), and from the DISH satellite service. You might, in fact, wish to drop your DirecTV service, check out the rates with other services, and switch to another service—or simply watch us, for free, over the air. You also can watch our newscast online at http://www.localnews8.com/ln8now or through the Local News 8 mobile app.

9. What can I do to get the Stations back on DirecTV?
We have told DirecTV our company’s executives are available “around the clock” to resolve the impasse and work to assure that DirecTV subscribers continue to have access to their favorite sports, entertainment and local news and weather programming from our Stations. You may wish to express your concern to your DirecTV representative and ask DirecTV to restore our Stations and treat all of us in this community fairly and equitably. We deeply regret the inconvenience DirecTV’s actions have caused.

Below is a statement from NPG, our parent company:

These Stations (KIFI and CW East Idaho) and DirecTV have been in negotiations for continued carriage of the stations on the DirecTV satellite service. The Station's current carriage agreement with DirecTV expired Sept. 30, but in an effort to accommodate DirecTV and avoid disruption of service to DirecTV satellite subscribers, the Stations granted DirecTV an extension to 11 a.m., Oct. 9, 2013.

Unfortunately, our negotiations with DirecTV are at an impasse, and DirecTV satellite subscribers lost access to the Station's programming from DirecTV's satellite service as of noon Oct. 9, 2013. However, the Station will continue to be available from local cable television systems, from the DISH satellite service, and for free, over the air.

Satellite companies, like cable companies, mark up the price they pay for local broadcast signals and resell those signals to their subscribers. The Stations, of course, must pay top dollar in a competitive market for their award-winning, national network, syndicated, local news, sports, weather and public service programming. The core dispute between DirecTV and the Stations involves 1.) the price DirecTV is willing to pay the Stations for the right to resell the Station's signal and 2.) DirecTV's insistence on the right to see the Station's signal on the Internet without paying the Station a fair price.

DirecTV pays another, considerably less popular program provider more than five (5) times the rate the Stations are asking for the right to sell the Stations' signal to their subscribers. Having paid top dollar for their highly rated programming, the Station's price proposal, in comparison to what DirecTV pays for less popular programming, is very fair and reasonable.

It is our hope the current impasse will be resolved and the disruption in service for DirecTV's subscribers will end. We will keep you informed of the progress of the negotiations. In the interim, however, you may wish to make plans for an alternative means of receiving the Stations.

If you have other questions about this issue, email programming@localnews8.com.

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