DirecTV and major station group Tegna have struck a carriage deal, ending a programming blackout that began November 30 and affected roughly 5 million customers across the U.S..
The signals of Tegna’s 64 owned stations in 51 Nielsen designated markets will return to DirecTV satellite systems, DirecTV Stream and U-verse cable over the course of Saturday. The start of the NFL playoffs this weekend likely helped motivate the parties to reach an agreement, with broadcast tune-in likely to surge in the wake of a particularly strong ratings season for the league.
In a succinct, joint statement, the companies said they “greatly appreciate the patience of their subscribers and viewers.” DirecTV added, “We will continue to work with station owners and networks to align the price customers pay with the value they receive.”
DirecTV was spun off by AT&T in 2021 into a privately held entity that is 30%-owned by private equity firm TPG. DirecTV’s traditional satellite business, along with the internet-delivered DirecTV Stream and U-Verse cable combined have nearly 12 million subscribers in the U.S., according to recent analysts’ estimates.
The Tegna battle affected about 40% of that base, sources previously indicated to Deadline, with 70% of affected stations affiliated with either CBS or NBC. Tegna owns 66 stations in 52 markets, including in top DMAs like Dallas, Phoenix and Denver.
Tegna last spring terminated a planned takeover by private equity firm Standard General after regulators raised concerns about the deal, which was valued at $8.6 billion including debt. Tegna was formed in 2015 after its broadcast operations were spun off from the print holdings of Gannett. The broadcast company’s name is a partial anagram of Gannett.