DirecTV leaders said Wednesday that they expect to extend the deadline for negotiations with Sinclair Broadcast Group—which owns local ABC affiliate NewsChannel 9—so customers won't lose programming.
The two companies are in the midst of a programming dispute, and if it isn't resolved, the satellite TV company could drop all of Sinclair's channels.
The original deadline for a resolution was Feb. 28, which is when the existing agreement between the companies expires.
DirecTV leaders said in a prepared statement that they are making "significant progress" every day in working toward a new long-term programming deal with Sinclair.
"This offers further assurance to our customers that there will be no interruption of their local programming," DirecTV spokeswoman Meghan E. McLarty said in a prepared statement. "We also anticipate that, even in the most extreme case, Sinclair and DirecTV will agree to a brief extension beyond the initial Feb. 28 deadline to hammer out any final details."
If the two don't reach an agreement, DirecTV customers in 47 markets, including Chattanooga, will lose Sinclair programming.
Providers like DirecTV must pay retransmission fees to broadcasters, such as Sinclair.
The dispute is over how much DirecTV will pay Sinclair for ABC programming.
Sinclair leaders said recently that local television stations, such as Channel 9, pay millions each year to buy high-quality programming and to produce local news.
"It is just standard business practice that the satellite companies should pay for the right to resell programming to their subscribers," according to Sinclair's statement.
In November 2011, there was a similar dispute between Sarkes Tarzian, the parent company of local NBC affiliate WRCB, and Dish Network.