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UPDATE FOR DIRECTV CUSTOMERS:
For the last few weeks, we have been telling viewers through on-air messages, commercials, and information posted on kezi.com that DirecTV’s contract with KEZI was set to expire. On August 10, 2016, Heartland Media/USA Television significantly lowered their fee requests in an effort to avoid ATT/DirecTV dropping the retransmission of its stations in Tupelo, Mississippi (WTVA), Utica, New York (WKTV), Eugene, Oregon (KEZI), and Medford, Oregon (KDRV). The latest fee offer by Heartland and USA Television was in fact 19.5% (in 2016), 17% (in 2017) and 18.4% (in 2018) lower than the fees ATT/DirecTV has acknowledged it is paying to lower rated stations in the same markets served by WTVA, WKTV, KEZI and KDRV. Notably, every other cable and satellite company in the country has agreed to similar fees and contract terms as those being sought by Heartland/USA Television.
ATT/DIRECTV has admitted to KEZI’s ownership that DIRECTV’s only reason for rejecting our most recent proposal is the size of our broadcast group (five stations). They have also acknowledged that they are already paying lesser rated stations in the same markets we serve significantly more in fees than we are requesting, again giving the size of our broadcast group as the only reason. Apparently, KEZI and our four other stations are not alone. Since January of this year, ATT/DIRECTV has been responsible for nearly half of the television service disruptions that have occurred in the satellite and cable industries. They have taken 42 stations off the air and the average size of the broadcast group they have bullied is seven stations. The merger of ATT and DIRECTV last year created a $250 billion company. Those who opposed the merger were concerned it would create such a behemoth that it would try and crush small broadcasters. ATT/DIRECTV has proven those concerns to be valid. Heartland LLC and USA Television LLC, with only five stations, is a victim of ATT/DIRECTV's discriminatory tactics and bad faith bargaining. The principal owner of Heartland has been in the broadcast business for over 25 years and never previously experienced a service disruption. Finally, we have successfully negotiated agreements with every other satellite and cable company in our markets and have offered to settle on the same, and in some instances lesser, terms as those offered to ATT/DIRECTV. We sincerely apologize for the problems that have been created and urge you to contact DIRECTV and tell them to stop discriminating against your local station.
If you value the opportunity to view KEZI on DirecTV, we urge you to contact your Congressmen and Senators, the Federal Communications Commission, and ATT/DirecTV (1-800-347-3288), and insist that ATT/DirecTV bargain in good faith as required by federal law. You are paying DirecTV a fee for KEZI’s signal as part of your package, and you are not getting what you are paying for.
If you are a DirecTV subscriber and want to continue viewing KEZI, we urge you to consider changing your provider to DISH Network (800) 333-3474, Comcast Cable (888) 824-8264, Charter Cable (877) 906-9121, or the smaller cable companies of Comspan Communications in Roseburg (866) 535-9858, Country Vision Cable in Junction City (541) 998-7924, Alsea River Cable in Waldport (541) 563-4807, or Monroe Area Communications in Monroe (541) 847-5135. You can also watch KEZI for free over-the-air with an antenna, and can stream all of KEZI’s live newscasts at kezi.com or on your mobile device.
Thank you for your patience and support.
What is happening to KEZI on DirecTV?
KEZI’s parent company, Heartland Media, and DirecTV are in the process of negotiating a renewal of the current retransmission agreement between KEZI and DirecTV. This agreement expired on August 10, 2016. Without a renewal, DirecTV can no longer carry KEZI’s programming and content. Over the past several months, KEZI’s owners have attempted to reach a new long-term agreement with DirecTV in the hopes of preventing any interruption of service for viewers. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to move forward with DirecTV, little progress has been made.
Why can't you reach an agreement?
For some reason, DirecTV has not been willing to negotiate appropriate market value retransmission compensation that other distributors are paying for KEZI’s content. Primarily, Heartland Media and DirecTV disagree on the value of KEZI’s programming and content. DirecTV resells this same content to you, the subscriber, yet refuses to compensate at a fair market value the highly rated and award-winning programming that KEZI produces every day for its viewers.
Why should DirecTV have to pay to carry television stations that are available for free over-the-air?
KEZI is available over-the-air for free to our viewers, but our signal is not free to pay services such as DirecTV that repackage our signals and sell them to their subscribers. In fact, the law requires cable and satellite providers to obtain consent for the right to carry broadcast stations and to compensate them in exchange for granting their consent.
Don't television stations benefit from being available on satellite providers?
All channels benefit from being carried on a cable or satellite system. Cable and satellite systems like DirecTV generally pay for the right to carry stations and networks. We are simply asking to be treated fairly in being compensated. The right to request payment is something that the U.S. Congress has explicitly authorized.
Is there anything I can do to keep KEZI on DirecTV?
The best thing you can do is to let DirecTV know that they need to keep local channels like KEZI on their system to retain you as a customer. You have alternatives and you should let them know that you will use them if they don't provide the same level of programming as their competition.
If this can't be resolved and the stations aren't carried on DirecTV, how can I watch KEZI?
Although we understand and apologize for the inconvenience caused by this to our viewers, you still have several ways to watch KEZI. KEZI is available free over-the-air by antenna on channel 9.1, and on Comcast Cable (888) 824-8264, Charter Cable (877) 906-9121, DISH Network (800) 333-3474, and the smaller cable companies of Comspan Communications (Roseburg) (866) 535-9858, Country Vision Cable (Junction City) (541) 998-7924, Alsea River Cable (Waldport) (541) 563-4807, and Monroe Area Communications (Monroe) (541) 847-5135. Most people have the option to use an antenna to receive KEZI over-the-air for free. Alternatively you can cancel your DirecTV service and choose to go with one of DirecTV’s cable or satellite competitors. You can also watch all KEZI 9 Newscasts live on your computer or mobile devices, available at the links below.
How much money is involved?
The negotiations are still taking place, but what we can tell you is that the fees we’re requesting are a very small percentage of the average bill paid by DirecTV’s subscribers. Heartland Media is requesting to be paid far lower fees than what DirecTV currently pays for other lower rated programming.
If the increase is that small why isn’t DirecTV agreeing to pay it?
That's a great question, but you would have to ask DirecTV. In fact, we suggest you get in touch with them to ask them just that. Who wouldn't agree to a nominal fee per day for your whole family to receive some of the most popular, widely watched programming on television? You can call DirecTV customer support at 1-800-DIRECTV (800-347-3288).