Local DirecTV subscribers facing World Series blackout

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | 6:48 p.m. CDT; updated 4:20 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 23, 2013

COLUMBIA -- Mid-Missouri DirecTV subscribers who want to watch the World Series will need the equivalent of a walk-off home run to happen before the first game on Wednesday.

DirecTV dropped three Columbia channels — ABC 17/KMIZ, FOX 22/KQFX and MyZouTV — on Oct. 9 as part of the process to negotiate a new contract with the networks' umbrella company, News-Press & Gazette Co. of Missouri. The last contract between DirecTV and News-Press & Gazette expired Sept. 30.

News-Press & Gazette general manager Gene Steinberg said Tuesday afternoon he still had no estimate of when the contract dispute will be resolved. He said the biggest sticking point in negotiations centers around digital re-broadcast rights.

Steinberg said individual television shows, which his networks purchase the right to broadcast, don't give News-Press & Gazette the right to let carriers re-broadcast content on the Internet.

"Most program contracts were done years ago, and those rights are not in that contract," Steinberg said.

The St. Louis Cardinals face the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fenway Park. The game will be aired nationally on FOX, whose local affiliate is one of the blacked-out networks on DirecTV.

If a deal isn't reached before the game starts, local DirecTV subscribers hoping to watch Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright pitch a shutout will instead be shut out from watching the game at home.

Steinberg said the number of FOX 22 viewers who are DirecTV subscribers is proprietary information he won't release, but he expressed confidence that most of the station's viewers will be able to watch the game.

"The vast majority of our audience doesn't watch DirecTV," Steinberg said. "They are not being disenfranchised by this issue. If one person is missing us, it's one too many. But it's not an issue for the vast majority of mid-Missouri viewers."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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Skip Yates October 22, 2013 | 11:01 p.m.

I am sure the local stations will advise their advertisers that they have significantly lost viewer membership and will reimburse them accordingly, and charge less in the future. Thats the honest thing to do, isn't it? And, I am sure DirectTV will wonder if the number of folks switching to another provider is worth the contest. I am going to switch because part of my contract clearly states local stations, and DirectTV isn't honoring that. And, that isn't the right thing to do. To me, they both ........and I can't say those words here.

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