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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.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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