Tegna-owned TV stations in three markets have gone dark on Verizon’s FiOS TV service as a dispute over retransmission fees continued into the new year. Norfolk, Va. ABC affiliate WVEC, DC CBS affiliate WUSA and Buffalo’s NBC affiliate WGRZ were all pulled from the FiOS lineup on Dec 31, 2018.
In a notice to subscribers, Verizon accused Tegna of proposing a significant rate increase for these stations. “The rising cost of programming is the single biggest factor in higher TV bills, and we are standing up to broadcasters like Tegna in order to protect you from rate increases,” Verizon said. “Rest assured, our goal is to reach a fair agreement that is in your best interest and allows you to continue to have access to the stations you enjoy today.”
In response Tegna said it has “worked hard to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Verizon” adding that it had “successfully reached hundreds of deals with cable and satellite providers across the country with no disruption of service, so we are disappointed we could not reach a deal with Verizon.
“We remain hopeful this will get resolved quickly. However, Verizon customers should know our channels remain available on every other service provider in their community as well as many over-the-top (OTT) providers, who offer instant access when viewers sign up,” Tegna continued. “Our station’s high-quality news, sports, weather and entertainment programming is also available for free over-the-air and viewers can continue watching our newscasts live on our stations’ apps.”