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WFLX FOX 29

WFLX FOX29, owned by Raycom, has gone dark on DirecTV as of September 1 after it failed to reach an agreement on the fee DirecTV subscribers pay for access to the station every month. The two companies have been at it for three months with no results. By mid August WFLX started to encourage its viewers on Facebook and elsewhere to contact DirecTV and tell them to, basically, cave in.

Now with the blackout in full force, and football games coming up, the station has resorted to badgering viewers where they hang out the most – on Facebook, with ads like the one below. WFLX DirecTV Dispute

In a message on its Facebook page the station told viewers to call and ask for a credit or a rebate, which DirecTV has been known to do during other retrans disputes

Attention DirecTV subscribers.
WFLX is no longer available on DirecTV.
You are missing your local news, weather and sports as well as FOX programming – but you will still be paying for it!
Why pay for a blank screen?
Call DirecTV at 1-800-531-5000) and tell them to give you a credit or rebate!
You pay 100% of your cable/satellite bill, you should get 100% of your channels!
We are continuing to work diligently to resolve this matter with DirecTV.
Call DirecTV at 1-800-531-5000) and tell them you want WFLX on your system.
You do have choices. Go to www.wflx.com for a list of providers in our area that will still carry the WFLX signal, and we are always free over the air via an antenna.
Thank you for your viewership and support. And check back here regularly for updates.
Call (561) 223-4620 if you would like to speak to a WFLX representative

Of course WFLX conveniently omits one very important details from its daily begging, that viewers are signing up for yet another price increase by pressuring DirecTV to give into WFLX and Raycom’s demands for a fee increase. To be fair though, the station isn’t entirely to blame. FOX (and other networks) is bleeding its affiliate stations for more money every year, and stations like WFLX are forced to demand fee increases from cable and satellite TV subscribers or they’d have to pick their own pockets to pay the network. According to SNL Kagan, broadcast TV stations received $3.02 billion from retrans fees in 2013, an almost 30% increase from 2012.Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 6.28.48 AM

And if annual price hikes weren’t bad enough, Comcast and other pay TV companies now also add a “Broadcast TV fee” of $1.50 per month to customer’s bills, though that only covers a fraction of the charges that allegedly go as high as $2 per month for a single broadcast station.

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We have it on good ear that WFLX have sold their offices on Blue Heron boulevard and will move out of them and into WPTV’s building at the end of May. Also, out of the 40 or so staff members 30 have been laid off, leaving about a dozen in management and ad sales to support the operation.

There is also talk that WFLX owner Raycom may be interested in selling the station, something many suggested was the next step after WPTV announced WFLX will be moving into their building while also producing that station’s newscasts. For now all this makes WPTV owner Scripps appear as the most likely to gobble up WFLX given how the Fox affiliate has all but a broadcast tower left to their name. Any other buyer from outside would have to spend considerable amount of money for new studio operations, assuming of course they would be interested in developing a full fledged news operation.