Verizon and Tegna solve the dispute, restoring the CBS in the Washington region. But there remains a handful of blackouts nationwide


Thursday's Verizon Fios customers regained access to the major transmission channels, including WUSA, the CBS station in the nation's capital, which had been darkened for days due to a contractual dispute with an important media company, Tegna.

Verizon and Tegna stated in a statement that they had reached "a multi-year transport agreement" that restores stations such as WVEC, a local ABC station in Norfolk, and WGRZ, Buffalo's NBC station, putting an end to an interruption that had influenced analysts' estimates 1 million Verizon customers nationwide.

The resolution arrives a few days before high-profile sports events this weekend, like the NFL playoffs, broadcast in part on CBS and NBC and are among the most watched shows of the year. Tegna and Verizon refused to comment on the specifications of the agreement.

The Tegna dispute was just one of the many blackouts that swept the country in recent weeks, while content company contracts with TV providers were renewed at the end of 2018. Blackouts hit TV viewers up to 140 times. last year, according to the American Television Alliance, a trade association representing independent distributors and programmers.

This week, Verizon resolved a separate transport dispute with Disney, which prevented ESPN and ABC from obscuring Fios customers in numerous markets. But the HBO programming dispute with Dish Network remains unresolved.

On Wednesday, broadcast channels in major markets suddenly dimmed for Spectrum TV customers as Charter Communications – the nation's second largest cable company with over 16 million TV subscribers – has not signed a new programming agreement with Tribune Media.

As many as 24 markets are affected by the TV blackout, including Denver, Houston, New York, Los Angeles and St. Louis. The tribune threw the signal at five o'clock in the afternoon. Eastern time after the negotiations have stopped.

Charter members can still capture the NFL playoffs by other means, such as streaming games on Yahoo Sports or the National Football League app. But some alternatives require consumers to pay additional fees.

Tribune, which controls 33 broadcast stations in the affected markets, has asked Charter to pay more than twice as much as it currently does for the same content in the future, said Card Spokesperson Nathalie Burgos.

"This is more than we pay any other broadcasters, they are not reasonable," said Charter in a statement.

Suppliers as a charter have to pay significant sums to the programming companies for the right to distribute their shows and channels. But as more and more Americans have canceled their cable subscriptions in recent years, financial pressure has increased for both parties, as each tries to adapt to consumer tastes.

Tribune said that as many as 6 million card subscribers lost access to news, weather and traffic from their local broadcast stations due to the failure. As many as 14 million lost access to WGN America, Tribune's core cable channel, through the entire Charter network, he said.

"We are extremely disappointed that we do not have an agreement to renew our contract with Spectrum," said Gary Weitman, Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations at Tribune. "We offered fair market rates to Spectrum … Spectrum has turned down our offer and has not traded significantly."

Spectrum is a brand under which Charter markets its services.


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