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Verizon, Hearst Television Reach Agreement to Avoid New Year’s Blackout

Verizon and Hearst Television reached a distribution agreement to stave off a New Year’s Day blackout of the broadcasting group’s channels on Fios TV in five markets.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The telco had alleged Hearst TV was demanding price hikes of more than 45% to carry the local channels. The companies’ previous carriage pact expired Dec. 31.

Nationwide, Hearst Television owns and operates 33 TV and two radio stations serving 26 media markets across 39 states reaching over 21 million U.S. television households.

According to the American Television Alliance, a trade group representing cable, satellite and telco TV providers, broadcasters during the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to use blackouts or the threat of blackouts “as a bargaining chip against consumers while negotiating retransmission consent fees.”

Pictured above: A WCVB 5 (ABC) news van in Boston

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