DirecTV Subscriber Programming Advisory

November 21, 2013

We continue to receive wonderful support from so many of our Channel 8 KLKN-TV viewers across eastern and central Nebraska. Here is yet another recent example of an email from one such viewer who made the switch from DirecTV…and are very glad they did:

“This is just a follow up to let  you know that I have now switched from DirecTV to DISH Network, which carries your ABC affiliate.  DirecTV wanted to know why I disconnected my service with them, and I told them.  I am now very happy to have you back in my home.  The service tech told me there must be a number of unhappy folks in the neighborhood, as he had already installed seven (7) new DISH customers.  I look forward to watching KLKN-TV.”

Like the viewer above, we hope more and more viewers will choose to make the switch away from DirecTV. In addition to the DISH Network, other options continue to include Time Warner Cable and other local cable systems. And, of course, Channel 8 KLKN-TV is always available for free, over-the-air via an antenna.

We do very much appreciate the continuing encouragement we have received over the past many weeks. In fact, the dispute with DirecTV that has kept “Lincoln's Own ABC” off their satellite service will have reached the 5 week mark as of midnight tonight. We presented them with a couple different approaches to resolving our differences last week. They immediately rejected one; they have yet to give us so much as a response let alone a counter-proposal to the other, choosing instead to re-submit a previous proposal of theirs that is unacceptable for reasons they fully understand. We share your frustration and concern with DirecTV's lack of regard for their customers.

November 20, 2013

Thank you for your continuing expressions of support and loyalty.  We have received numerous inquiries from viewers waiting for an update on our discussions with DirecTV.  We regret to say that you're waiting because we're waiting.

Last week we had three separate discussions with DirecTV to attempt to resolve the dispute.  On Thursday, November 14, we offered DirecTV two new ways to break the impasse.  DirecTV rejected one of them out of hand.  The other DirecTV said it would consider.  We guess DirecTV is still considering, because we haven't heard back from them since then.

Unfortunately, we can't make DirecTV talk to us or strike a deal to resume carriage.  But you can.  Call DirecTV and tell them to return to the negotiating table because otherwise your next call will be to cancel your subscription.

Of course, if you are already too tired of waiting, you can simply call one of the local cable operators such as Time Warner, Charter, Zito Media, or Cable Nebraska, or satellite carrier DISH Network.  These other providers will be happy to offer you a service that includes all of your favorite channels.  Alternatively, most viewers should be able to receive us over the air for free with an appropriate antenna.

Please understand that we are doing everything we can to resolve this, but, at this point, we do not see a breakthrough on the immediate horizon.  We share your frustration.  Thank you, again, for your loyalty and patience.

November 8, 2013
11:15AM CST

We had a conference call with DirecTV late on November 7. We have had well over a dozen such calls, and exchanged dozens of emails and proposals, since beginning formal discussions with DirecTV in regards to a new carriage agreement for Channel 8 KLKN-TV in early August. We regret to inform you that no progress whatsoever was made in our latest attempt to break through the impasse. More than ever, we would encourage those viewers who happen to be DirecTV subscribers to explore other options to receive Channel 8 KLKN-TV: over-the-air via an antenna, by DISH Network, or by the many cable systems serving the Lincoln, Hastings & Kearney, NE market. It appears increasingly likely that a resolution of this ongoing dispute is far off.

Allow us to once again explain the main issues that are keeping Channel 8 KLKN-TV off the DirecTV satellite service. The core dispute between us involves two issues: (1) DirecTV's insistence on including digital rights in the new agreement when, in fact, those rights have yet to be granted to us by the ABC Television Network or any syndicated program provider; no other cable or satellite provider has ever put such excessive demands on us, and (2) whether DirecTV is willing to pay a fair, market-based rate for the right to re-sell the Station's signal for a profit.

Many viewers have contacted us to ask what “digital rights” are. In this context, it means the right to distribute the signal of Channel 8 KLKN-TV over the Internet, a matter that is completely unrelated to the primary retransmission of our Station. It is infuriating to us that DirecTV continues to hold its subscribers hostage over a demand that we give them extraordinary rights no other satellite or cable company has ever demanded of us so that DirecTV can resell our signal on the Internet. Moreover, Channel 8 KLKN-TV has yet to acquire such digital rights from the ABC Television Network in the first place — a fact that DirecTV is well aware of.

As for the issue of fees, DirecTV continues to mislead customers with statements such as this one: “DirecTV must receive permission from the station's owner Citadel Communications to offer KLKN to our local customers, but Citadel is withholding that permission unless we commit customers to paying three times as much just to see the same over-the-air channel they've always had.”  This statement is demonstrably false and DirecTV knows it!  Our latest fee ask is fully in line with the going market rate — one consistent with those found in other agreements with DirecTV's competitors — and it is not “three times” more than what DirecTV has been compensating us pursuant to the terms of the agreement which expired on September 30. We have asked DirecTV to correct this inaccuracy and apologize to both their customers and Citadel Communications for the error; they have stridently refused to do so.

In short, this dispute is completely unnecessary . . . but appears to be one DirecTV was intent on stirring up from the outset.

There are no additional discussions with DirecTV scheduled at this time. So, once again, we encourage those viewers who are DirecTV subscribers to explore other options to receive Channel 8 KLKN-TV: over-the-air via an antenna, by DISH Network, or by cable systems such as Time Warner, Charter, Cable Nebraska, or Zito Media.

We will continue to keep you updated on any new developments. Regrettably, we are not optimistic that we will have anything new to report in the near future.

November 1, 2013
5:30PM CDT

We wanted to provide a further update before the week comes to a close.

DirecTV did, in fact, finally respond to our October 23rd proposal. We received it late on Wednesday, October 30th — a fully week after our proposal had been submitted to them. We submitted our latest counter proposal for Channel 8 KLKN-TV's to DirecTV today, November 1. While we remain steadfastly committed to reaching the kind of genuine compromise that can lead us to a new agreement, we remain far apart on the key issues of unrelated right to distribute our signal over the Internet and carriage fees. We owe it to our viewers to keep working on ways to bridge the gaps that separate us — and will do just that.

In the meantime, thank you again to our many supporters who appreciate the unique program service provided by Channel 8 KLKN-TV. Here is one such email:

From: James_Pennington
Sent: Friday, November 01, 2013 2:50 PM
To: Roger Moody
Subject: Re: KLKNTV

Roger and all at KLKNTV

I just wanted to drop you a quick note recognizing the importance of all Channel 8 does for the community of Lincoln and how fortunate we are to have you a part of our community.  The local news, information, and partnerships with the Lincoln community are vital.

As I am sure you are aware Lincoln is a growing and vibrant community all of its own.  The challenges and joys of Lincoln are unique to Lincoln. That is why your station's perspective on Lincoln is unique and important.  I do not believe that you can lump Lincoln in with Omaha.  

We are not Omaha and the challenges and joys we have in Lincoln are unique to us.  That is why an Omaha station can not adequately represent us here in Lincoln.  Likewise we are not Grand Island/Hastings/ or Kearney.  While those communities are from Nebraska they are once again not Lincoln.  

This is what I love about KLKN because only KLKN in the television spectrum of media represents Lincoln.  Please continue to provide that unique “Lincoln” coverage of the news, weather, Sports, and community involvement.  Thank you.

His Messenger of Hope
Major Jamie Pennington,
Corps Officer, The Salvation Army Lincoln, NE

October 29, 2013
4:00PM CDT

As we stated in our last update, we continue to reach out to DirecTV in the spirit of reaching a new agreement that would allow for the return of Channel 8 KLKN-TV to their satellite service; one that would be mutually fair and reasonable.

We also informed you that Channel 8 KLKN-TV had submitted a new proposal to DirecTV on Wednesday, October 23. They sent us a reply on that same date indicating that they would review our new proposal and follow up with us “next week” sometime. Well, next week is now this week and we've yet to receive a formal response or counter-proposal of any kind. To further complicate matters, we have heard from some viewers that DirecTV operators are telling them that our dispute “has been settled” which is not true and only further adds to their subscribers' — i.e., our viewers' — frustration. Other viewers have complained about the fact that DirecTV's program guide has continued to list KLKN since October 18 when, in fact, the programming has been that of KHGI-TV out of Kearney. We brought these concerns to DirecTV's attention some 24 hours ago; they have since fixed the guide issue, but are “still working” to verify the operator matter.

Let's address the guide issue and KHGI-TV a bit more. All of us at Channel 8 KLKN-TV greatly appreciate the support you've shown us throughout this dispute that has kept our Station off the DirecTV service for nearly two weeks now. DirecTV evidently believes that providing another ABC station from out-state is “good enough” for their customers. That's why your comments about the unique manner in which “Lincoln's Own ABC” serves the local Lincoln community are so gratifying. Truly local news coverage, unique Husker and high school sports coverage, and a commitment that literally saves lives in times of severe weather are among the reasons that Channel 8 Eyewitness News has been consistently honored by its peers and lauded by our viewers. DirecTV apparently doesn't understand or care about any of that…which makes your support and encouragement all the more meaningful.

We look forward to, hopefully, receiving DirecTV's eventual response in order that Channel 8 KLKN-TV can return to their satellite system. In the meantime, please keep in mind that we offer Channel 8 KLKN-TV for free, over-the-air to viewers — we only charge a fee to satellite and cable companies who resell our signals for their own profit.  So watch us for free, over-the-air or switch to DISH Network or local cable companies such Time Warner, Charter, Great Plains, or Zito to receive our Station's popular programming.

October 23, 2013
4:45PM CDT

We continue to reach out to DirecTV in the spirit of finding compromise in order to finalize a new retransmission consent agreement. One with terms consistent with those in countless other agreements in place for Channel 8 KLKN-TV; one that is mutually fair and reasonable for both parties.

With the above in mind, Channel 8 KLKN-TV submitted a new proposal to DirecTV earlier today. We look forward to receiving their response in hopes that Lincoln's Own ABC can return to the DirecTV satellite system. In the meantime, again keep in mind that we offer Channel 8 KLKN-TV for free, over-the-air to viewers — we only charge a fee to satellite and cable companies who resell our signals for their own profit.  So watch us for free, over-the-air or switch to DISH or local cable companies such as Time Warner and Charter Communications to receive our Station's popular programming.

October 18, 2013
10:00AM CDT

As we warned DirecTV subscribers yesterday would likely happen, Channel 8 KLKN-TV was removed from the DirecTV satellite service early this morning. This is only the third time in our company's history that a satellite or cable company has taken such action. We deeply regret it when some of our viewers are inconvenienced or otherwise caught in the middle of a business negotiation that should never reach a point where an outage in service is necessary. But even after granting DirecTV two extensions, they have chosen to maintain an approach to the negotiations that has been marked by unreasonable demands throughout — far more excessive than we've ever encountered in reaching deals with similar distributors in the past.

Let's take an honest look at DirecTV's so-called explanation for dropping Channel 8 KLKN-TV from their system. Here is a post on their website: “DirecTV must receive permission from the station's owner Citadel Communications to offer KLKN to our local customers, but Citadel is withholding that permission unless we commit customers to paying three times as much just to see the same over-the-air channel they've always had.” Regrettably, DirecTV is distorting some of the facts and not disclosing other relevant ones.

First, it is demonstrably false to state that our fee ask is “three times” more than what DirecTV has compensated Channel 8 KLKN-TV in the past. We have asked DirecTV to correct this inaccuracy and apologize to their customers.

Second, please consider the following:

Assume, for instance, you are selling a product to Company X and discover (a) Company X, based on publicly available information, is paying other companies a price 500% greater than the price it is paying you for a competitive product that is significantly less popular than yours, and (b) you believe, based on public information and current market conditions, Company X is paying others a price 300% greater than it is paying you for a comparable, competitive product, and (c) you are currently selling your product to competitors of Company X at a price 300% greater than Company X is currently paying you. Would you not, in those circumstances, consider it fair, reasonable and equitable to ask Company X to increase the price it pays you in order to bring that price more in line with the competitive market?

The above hypothetical is not unlike our negotiations with DirecTV. By any standard of fair play and fair competition, our proposal to DirecTV is reasonable. It is based on competitive market conditions.  We have simply asked DIRECTV to pay us a fee more in line with (a) the amount we believe DirecTV is paying our competitors for significantly less popular channels, (b) the amount we believe companies such as DirecTV pays for other comparable broadcast channels, and (c) the amount DIRECTV's competitors are now paying us for our channels.

DirecTV's claim that we are asking for an unreasonable rate increase should be evaluated for what it is – a clever, but incomplete, characterization of the nature of our negotiations.

In addition to the fee issue, what DirecTV is not telling its subscribers is that it is making extraordinary demands on our Station that no other satellite or cable company has EVER made of our Station. Specifically, they are demanding digitals rights and terms that would go far beyond what we've agreed to with any other distributors. We have repeatedly explained to DirecTV that (a) we have yet to acquire those rights from the ABC Television Network or any of our major syndicated program suppliers, but that (b) if we and when we do, we'll gladly negotiate with them in good faith to extend those rights to DirectTV. The simple fact is that, for competitive reasons, we are anxious to extend those rights to all of the distributors with whom we deal as it's clearly in our mutual self-interests to do so.

All of this is what the DirecTV dispute is really about.

Tell DirecTV not to hold its subscribers hostage with its unreasonable rate approach and over-reaching demands related to digital rights. Out of concern and respect for their subscribers, they should work diligently to conclude the negotiation with Channel 8 KLKN-TV in order that they can quickly reinstate service of our Station.

And please keep in mind, we offer our Station for free, over-the-air to viewers — we only charge a fee to satellite and cable companies who resell our signals for their own profit.  So watch us for free, over-the-air or switch to DISH or local cable companies such Time Warner or Charter to receive our Station's popular programming.

October 17, 2013
1:00PM CDT

As you may have noted previously, Channel 8 KLKN-TV and DirecTV have been in negotiations for continued carriage of Lincoln's Own ABC on the DirecTV satellite service. Our current carriage agreement with DirecTV expired September 30, but in an effort to accommodate DirecTV and avoid a disruption of service to DirecTV satellite subscribers, Channel 8 KLKN-TV granted DirecTV an extension to October 15. That was followed up with a second extension through midnight tonight, October 18.

Unfortunately, our negotiations with DirecTV are at an impasse, and DirecTV satellite subscribers will no longer have access to Channel 8 KLKN-TV when the latest extension expires. However, Channel 8 KLKN-TV will continue to be available from local cable television systems such as Time Warner Cable, Cable Nebraska, Zito Media and Charter Communications, from the DISH satellite service, and for free over the air.

Satellite companies, like cable companies, mark-up the price they pay for local broadcast signals and re-sell those signals to their subscribers. Channel 8 KLKN-TV, of course, must pay top dollar in a competitive market for its national network, syndicated, local news, sports, weather, and public service programming. The core dispute between DirecTV and Channel 8 KLKN-TV involves (1) the price DirecTV is willing to pay us for the right to re-sell the Station's signal and (2) DirecTV's insistence on including digital rights in the new agreement when, in fact, those rights have yet to be granted to us by the ABC Television Network or any syndicated program provider; no other cable or satellite provider has ever put such excessive demands on us.

DirecTV pays another, considerably less popular program provider more than 5 times the rate Channel 8 KLKN-TV is asking for the right to sell the Station's signal to its subscribers. Having paid top dollar for its highly rated programming, the Station's price proposal, in comparison to what DirecTV pays for less popular programming, is very fair and reasonable.

It is our hope the current impasse will be resolved and the disruption in service for DirecTV's subscribers will end. We will keep you informed of the progress of the negotiations. In the interim, however, you may wish to make plans for an alternative means of receiving the Station.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why will DirecTV stop retransmitting Channel 8 KLKN-TV's signals?

The contract for carriage of Channel 8 KLKN-TV by DirecTV expired on September 30. The latest in a series of extension agreements is about to expire and, so far, no new agreement is in sight.

2. Why has the contract not been renewed?

DirecTV refused to pay Channel 8 KLKN-TV a fair price or agree to other reasonable terms for the right to retransmit and resell the Station's signals to its subscribers. Channel 8 KLKN-TV, in fact, gave DirecTV extensions of the existing carriage contract in the hope a new agreement could be reached. Regrettably, the latest extension has expired without agreement by DirecTV, and DirecTV will no longer have the right to carry Channel 8 KLKN-TV.

3. But isn't DirecTV only trying to hold down the price it pays the Station and, in turn, keep down the price it charges its subscribers?

It is appropriate for DirecTV to minimize the price it pays for the privilege of reselling the signal of Stations such as ours to its subscribers. However, DirecTV, reportedly, pays five times more for significantly less popular program services than the price we are asking for our Station. DirecTV, a multi-billion dollar company, is, in effect, asking our Station to subsidize its operations which will enable it to pay more for other programming services with whom we compete for the best entertainment, sports and news programming. There are other unacceptable demands, aside from rates, that DirecTV is making which no other cable or satellite company has made or is making. In short, it would be irresponsible for us to subsidize DirecTV's cost of operation and grant it all the other financial benefits it is demanding.

4. But aren't you just asking DirecTV for more money to enhance your profits?

Absolutely not. We now have to pay our program suppliers — including our broadcast network — significantly more for highly rated sports and entertainment programming because cable and satellite companies are paying higher rates to our competitors who, in turn, will try to outbid us for the best programs.

October 15, 2013
4:37PM CDT
This is a special update for Channel 8 KLKN-TV viewers who subscribe to the DirecTV satellite service.  We continue to work diligently with DirecTV to reach a new agreement—one that is fair and equitable.  The parties have further extended the deadline to Thursday, October 17 at midnight by mutual agreement.  We will keep you updated on the progress of our negotiations.

October 3, 2013
12:00PM CDT
This is a special advisory for CHANNEL 8 KLKN-TV viewers who subscribe to the DirecTV satellite service.  The carriage agreement which allows CHANNEL 8 KLKN-TV to be retransmitted by DirecTV in the Lincoln, NE television market was originally set to expire at midnight on Monday, September 30; the parties extended the deadline to Tuesday, October 15 by mutual agreement.   Regrettably, our negotiations with DirecTV have now reached a point where it appears unlikely that a new agreement will be reached prior to the latest deadline. In addition, it is our view that any further extensions would not be helpful to the negotiation process.

It is our sincere belief that the approach we've taken to these business discussions with DirecTV has been quite reasonable.  We have sought to retain terms and carriage conditions commonly found in similar agreements successfully negotiated and currently in place with dozens of other cable and satellite providers.  We are also asking DirecTV to compensate us fairly for the right to “re-sell” our programming. Please know that our request is a fraction of what DirecTV is paying other program providers who have no local ties to our community, and whose ratings are a fraction of CHANNEL 8 KLKN-TV's. The negotiation has been further complicated by DirecTV's insistence on new “digital rights” language that goes far beyond anything we've agreed to – or can agree to – with any other cable or satellite provider.

At CHANNEL 8 KLKN-TV, we value and respect the loyalty of our viewers.  Please know that we will continue to work diligently to successfully resolve the open issues separating us and DirecTV, and we have communicated to them our willingness to “roll up our sleeves” between now and October 15 to get a new agreement in place — one that is fair and equitable to both parties. 

In the meantime, DirecTV subscribers should be aware they could lose the shows they love – – shows that they are paying for – – like the award-winning Channel 8 Eyewitness News, local and exclusive Nebraska Cornhusker Coverage, Live with Kelly and Michael, Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Oz and  Dr. Phil…to name just a few.

Importantly, DirecTV customers should know that CHANNEL 8 KLKN-TV will still be available free over-the-air, by cable or by the Dish Network.   

We pledge to keep you updated on the progress of our negotiations.

For more information contact:

Roger Moody                                                  Jeff Swanson

Senior VP/General Manager                          Director of Broadcast Operations

402.436.2235                                                  402.436.2238

Or by email:                                                    Or by email: