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Hearst ends dispute with AT&T, bringing channels back to DirecTV

Hearst Television has restored more than three dozen local channels to AT&T-owned pay television platforms after a two-day long dispute over retransmission fees.

The agreement between AT&T and Hearst Television expired at the end of 2019. Both sides agreed two two temporary extensions as the companies worked to hammer out a new agreement.

On Friday, Hearst pulled 34 channels, including Sacramento’s KCRA-TV (Channel 3), from AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service and AT&T TV Now streaming service. AT&T’s fiber optic TV service, U-Verse, was not affected by the dispute.

Dueling statements saw each side blaming the other — something that’s become typical of disputes. Also typical are how disputes are settled: Quickly and usually without any terms disclosed, though they almost always result in fee increases for customers.

The same happened here: After less than two days, Hearst announced it had reached an agreement to restore its local channels to AT&T’s platforms.

“Hearst and AT&T regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience,” a joint statement said.

Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, though DirecTV customers should keep an eye on their bills.