Posts tagged: KAYU-TV
So what really kept the Spokane Fox Affiliate off DirecTV for about nine weeks?
One story running today in the SR said it came down to a contractual dispute over money.
Jon Rand, an executive with Northwest Broadcasting, parent firm of KAYU-Fox 28, said that the real reason wasn't the payment plan — AKA the carriage fee, which is paid to the station based on some specific amount per subscriber in the market.
The real issue was the aggressive effort, he said, by DirecTV to establish a “most favored nation” clause in their contract. We'll get to that in a minute. Here's the official statement by KAYU:
It is with great excitement that FOX 28 announces they have reached an agreement with DIRECTV!
As of 5 p.m. Oct. 26, FOX 28 returned to the DIRECTV line-up. DIRECTV viewers are now able to watch their favorite FOX 28 programming including Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, the X Factor and the World Series.
“We are thrilled to be able to return FOX 28 programming to the DIRECTV schedule and are very grateful to our viewers for their patience and loyalty,” said General Manager of FOX 28, Doug Holroyd. “We also want to remind all of our viewers that FOX 28 is a broadcast television station and a beautiful HD signal can be seen over-the-air for free.”
Back when this battle started, Northwest Broadcasting's Rand summarized the key issue this way:
“DirecTV’s allegation of gigantic price increases does not hold water in this case, since price was not the core issue that shot the agreement with Northwest down.”
Here's the short version of what held things up, at least as reported by Northwest Broadcasting:
DirecTV wanted a “most favored nation” clause that guaranteed it would get a rate as good or better as any KAYU signed with other providers.
Then DirecTV also wanted this to be retroactive, back to January 2011.
Northwest Broadcasting balked at that request. And even now no one will say if they backed down, to help get the World Series broadcasts back on DirecTV.
Asked to comment on the settlement or explain how the sides resolved the issues, a DirecTV spokesman declined to give a reason.
Meanwhile, Rand suggested, in an email, that it was DirecTV who finally changed its stance: “The World Series seemed to motivate DirecTV this week.”
Seahawks fans who rely on DirecTV to see games are getting a break this Sunday.
You'd think that the ongoing signal blackout imposed on KAYU-28's local feed to DirecTV subscribers would mean they'd miss this Sunday's game vs. Arizona.
The blackout has continued since Aug. 13 between KAYU's parent firm and DirecTV, over fees and a few other matters. There's no certainty it will end before Sunday. Neither party seems willing to drop its demands.
However, DirecTV has a free NFL Sunday Ticket preview going on this weekend. That means even though one can't see the KAYU programs over the weekend, there's still that free feed for the weekend.
The DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket package is much like other paid-system plans: you can get every game, every Sunday, throughout the season, as a premium offering.
And a DirecTV spokesman notes that even if the local Fox affiliate is blacking out the channel the game normally is on, that has no impact on the NFL Sunday Ticket feed.
We ran through the KAYU-DirecTV blackout drill back in late 2010 and we pretty much got tired of it within a week.
Today's SR story is another summer rerun, a rehashing of many of the same issues that kept the sides from agreeing back 20 months ago.
Basically: national satellite provider DirecTV is complaining that Northwest Broadcasting (the parent of KAYU and some other Washington stations) is bullying it into an excessive fee for carrying its signal and programs.
NW Broadcasting is saying DirecTV has failed to come to the table in good faith, saying the two sides agreed on a carrying fee but then California-based DirecTV added other provisions that scotched the deal.
Both sides say they want to settle it, and help customers regain access to the KAYU Fox Network programs.
Back on 2011 when this last occurred, we went out and gathered up numbers from MediaBiz to see how the three main non-broadcast providers were doing in Spokane's DMA (dominant market area), in number of subscribers. Here was the number that was tallied back in 2010:
Dish: 102,000; Comcast: 100,000; DirecTV: 69,000.
We doubt that the general proportion of subscribers has changed much since then.
The good news in the prolonged dispute between the guys who run the Spokane Fox affiliate (KAYU-TV) and DirecTV is the apparent desire to keep going until the matter is resolved.
Again on Friday we learned the two side have set another extension; it seems like the 32nd time but it's more like the sixth or seventh, in fact.
The two sides are contesting over the Retransmision Fee, the amount DirecTV pays to Northwest Broadcasting, for carrying the Fox signals into the homes of subscribers here in Eastern Washington. Northwest Broadcasting is also bargaining for a number of other Fox stations, in Yakima, Tri-Cities, Medford and in New York state.
The two sides hunkered down before the holidays, then had to deal with massive anger when NW required DirecTV to pull its Fox signal from Jan. 1 to just about the Super Bowl (which was being carried on Fox).
The sides say progress appears to be occurring. But no one offers a statement on the final issues separating the two sides.
And meanwhile, viewers must be wondering: will that blackout happen again?
Fox carried the Super Bowl this year and for at least one weekend, DirecTV customers in this area were able to watch and not have to resort to desperate measures. Some fans have already jumped ship, during a monthlong blackout of the KAYU Fox signal, due to a dispute between the broadcast station and DirecTV, based in Los Angeles.
The two firms have set a monthlong ceasefire. It remains to be seen if the dispute — over how much cash DirecTV pays to Northwest Broadcasting, which runs KAYU and stations in four other markets — will be settled in the next 25 days.
Here's a relevant fact: Dish Network and Comcast far outnumber DirecTV for TV subscribers in the Spokane TV market. The very helpful MediaCensus datafile, from Mediabiz.com, provides this snapshot for paid-TV subscribers in the Spokane DMA (which covers from parts of Montana to central Washington):
NUMBERS are from 3rd Quarter 2010
DirecTV's marketing folks know that the blackout threatens to send customers to the other guys. They've already begun making nice to some who have paid hundreds of dollars to terminate their contracts with the satellite provider.
A company spokesman said customers who left during the KAYU dispute and who choose to come back now, will have their termination fees waived. Or they'll credit the fees paid to leave DirecTV back to the customer's account.
The spokesman also said it won't reveal how many customers have bailed from the Spokane market since the blackout started Jan. 1.
Those who return will also not face a brand new contract. The deal means: if a person left with 12 months still on a contract, coming back will put that customer right back at the 12 months-remaining point, instead of a brand new two-year deal.
Still no news on when the long, 28-day retransmission payment dispute affecting DIRECTV customers will end.
This is no fun for customers who are paying good money to DIRECTV and feel abused by the battle between DIRECTV and Northwest Broadcasting, which owns and operates KAYU, the Spokane Fox affiliate.
After quick research, we learned we were wrong in yesterday's post on the longest-lasting blackout.
Between December 2006 and February 2008, Spokane's own Northwest Broadcasting blacked out its signal for North Idaho Time Warner Cable subscribers. That 14-month stretch is the apparent longest recent signal denial.
In recent memory, the longest blackout occurred between January and December 2005, nearly a full year. That was between Cable One, a southwest cable operator, and Nextstar Broadcast, which operated several stations in Louisiana, Missouri and Texas.
Day 24 of the KAYU DIRECTV blackout, with no sign that the impasse will end soon.
We asked both sides by e-mail if movement was likely today.
We learned neither side seems optimistic. DIRECTV said, simply, they saw nothing new to resolve the long dispute — which centers on how much DIRECTV will pay, per household, for the ability to deliver KAYU's Fox Network Spokane-based programs to viewers in the region.
Jon Rand, COO of Northwest Broadcasting, which runs KAYU TV, said about the same:
“DIRECTV has made no offer in response to our new offer on Friday. In fact, they are still sitting where there were on Jan. 1, while we have made three proposals to them.”
We have no clarity on how much distance the two sides are apart, in price.
What would be helpful is to find what other affiliates are getting from DIRECTV or from Dish Network, for similarly sized markets, comparable to Spokane.
Anyone have access to solid numbers? What is the fee per TV household that DIRECTV pays to affiliates in Boise, or in Tacoma?
What does Comcast pay in those cities? Anyone?
The Seahawks season is over but Spokane and North Idaho TV viewers are still chasing down indoor or outdoor antennas. Area retailers say the surge in antenna-shopping is tied to the three-week TV blackout affecting DIRECTV subscribers.
The blackout, which began Jan. 1, has left many DIRECTV subscribers unable to watch Fox Network shows, carried by Spokane Fox affiliate KAYU TV.
Northwest Broadcasting, the owner of KAYU, is seeking an increase in how much DIRECTV pays it for carrying the Fox broadcasts. DIRECTV has said the request is exorbitant.
The blackout has no effect on over-the-air viewers or those using cable or Dish Network.
“We’re selling about 10 antennas a day,” said Casey Randolf, a sales associate for the NorthTown Mall Radio Shack.
Pat Williams, department lead for the East Sprague Kmart, said the store sold out its dozen indoor antennas by Thursday.
Jason Simonetti, an associate at the Post Falls Radio Shack, said the store sold out all its antennas last Friday, two days ahead of the Seahawks playoff game carried by Spokane TV station KAYU.
Now in the 21st day of a broadcast blackout, the opposing sides of KAYU-TV (Northwest Broadcasting, Inc.) and DIRECTV haven't said a word about how soon they expect a solution.
The battle is largely over the retransmission fee Northwest Broadcasting is seeking from DIRECTV. That fee is based on market estimates and the number of households that are gaining KAYU's broadcasts via DIRECTV. Each broadcaster negotiates those retransmission fees with satellite and cable companies.
The parties aren't talking openly about the proposed rates and counteroffers.
The issue affects thousands of TV viewers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho who use DIRECTV.
DIRECTV has told many of its more-distant viewers that they can watch an alternate satellite feed of Fox programs delivered from an Los Angeles station.
That only applies to residents who are deemed eligible because they can't receive an over-the-air signal from KAYU's Tower Mountain antenna, or one of its regional translators.
Robert Mercer, a DIRECTV spokesman, said the satellite company has already “turned on” the optional alternate feed for those subscribers who are affected by the blackout and who are eligible. He declined to say how many homes that encompasses.
Meanwhile, any DIRECTV customer who lives close enough to be capable of watching KAYU with an antenna has two choices….only one of which is useful. (I guess there is the third choice: quitting DIRECTV and finding a new provider.)
If the customer wants to remain with DIRECTV, he or she can file a waiver request from KAYU to allow DIRECTV to provide the alternate feed from LA. But that's totally futile.
That has no chance of succeeding. Jon Rand, COO of Northwest Broadcasting, said the station's affiliate status with Fox Broadcast Network would be jeopardized by allowing those waivers.
So the only other choice is… connecting one's TV to an antenna and watching Fox broadcasts the old-fashioned way. Good luck….
There is a way to work-around the KAYU transmission blackout continuing in much of the area, affecting households subscribing to DIRECTV. But it's not simple and not a sure thing for many affected viewers.
It comes down to getting DIRECTV to assign your home an alternate Fox Broadcasting signal from another market, like Los Angeles, instead of from Spokane's KAYU. You will have to call DIRECTV and convince them that you live in an area not likely to receive an over-the-air signal from KAYU's Spokane antenna.
This map, found at the FCC, displays a projected area where the signal can generally be counted on to be decent. In general, outside this area within the radius, you have the option. If you live inside the area, you may still be eligible for the work-around. But you would have to live in an area with unusually challenging terrain limitations.
Also: if you are in an area which has a signal repeater, you may seem to be eligible based on the map, but in fact will be considered ineligible to apply for a different network signal.
If you've already done so, leave a comment here to explain whether the phone process needed to accomplish that goal is easy or hard.