AT&T Weighs Selling Minority Stake In Pay TV

AT&T is considering selling significant minority stake in DirecTV, AT&T Now and U-Verse pay-TV operations. Final bids are due in early December, sources say. A deal could value DirecTV at less than $15 billion after AT&T acquired it for $67 billion plus debt about five years ago.

CNN’s Zucker Faces What Might Be His Last Lap

Under AT&T, CNN chief Jeff Zucker felt blindsided by a recent overhaul of WarnerMedia that slimmed down his role. The 55-year-old’s contract expires next year and he hasn’t committed to extending his deal in meetings with WarnerMedia brass and communications with CNN employees, people familiar with the situation say.

QUARTERLY REPORT

AT&T Takes Hit, But Tops Rev Expectations

AT&T Inc on Thursday reported the coronavirus pandemic had taken a heavy toll on its media business, but quarterly results were offset by stronger than expected gains in new phone subscribers lifted by offers for its HBO Max streaming service for free on certain phone plans.

AT&T Officially Announces In-Car Streaming

AT&T has officially launched its in-car video streaming service WarnerMedia Ride, offering it free to owners of 27 vehicle brands who have AT&T unlimited data connected car service. Ride will include news, sports and entertainment programming from brands including Bleacher Report, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and more. AT&T also plans to offer HBO Max on qualifying data plans next year.

AT&T CEO Blasts Amazon, Roku ‘Bottlenecks’

AT&T is nearly five months out from the launch of HBO Max and the service still doesn’t have distribution agreements in place with Amazon or Roku. CEO John Stankey, speaking Monday at the WSJ Tech Live event, said the impasses demonstrate how platform companies, not network providers, have begun to hamstring access to apps and services.

AT&T Pushes Back On DirecTV Satellite Disposal Fees

AT&T Could Take Massive Hit On DirecTV Sale

When AT&T announced that it would acquire DirecTV in 2014, it was initially billed as a way to create “a unique new competitor with unprecedented capabilities in mobility, video and broadband services.” However, that acquisition hasn’t played out well. AT&T spent $67.1 billion in total, including absorbing DirecTV’s net debt load, while the transaction pegged DirecTV’s equity value at $48.5 billion.

AT&T Moving Ahead With DirecTV Auction

AT&T is pressing ahead with an auction of DirecTV — and it’s shaping up to be a fire sale. The telecom giant last week invited a handful of suitors into the second round of an auction of the struggling satellite-TV provider, even though first-round bids had valued DirecTV at well below $20 billion.

AT&T Stops Selling DSL

AT&T has notified its existing DSL customers that they can’t transfer their service to a new address, and effective Oct. 1, the telecom is no longer even selling new DSL-based internet service. The news comes as the telecom announces new promotional pricing for its fiber internet service.

AT&T Mulls Ad-Supported Phone Plans

AT&T is considering offering wireless phone plans partially subsidized by advertising as soon as a year from now, CEO John Stankey said in an interview on Tuesday. “I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill,” Stankey said.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | AT&T/DirecTV Divorce Offers Important Lessons

AT&T never had a clear plan to integrate DirecTV into its overall strategy, and instead piddled away its brand and showed an utter failure of leadership in the process.

FCC Refuses To Freeze AMC’s AT&T Deal

The FCC isn’t particularly alarmed by the prospect that for some TV watchers, shows like The Walking DeadBetter Call Saul and Killing Eve could be going away. On Monday, the FCC’s Media Bureau denied AMC’s request for a standstill order to preserve its current program carriage agreement with AT&T. As a result, upon the imminent expiration of the deal, AMC could go dark on AT&T platforms including DirecTV and AT&T TV Now. At the moment, that accounts for a quarter of AMC households.

AT&T Explores Sale Of Xandr Digital Ad Unit

AT&T is exploring the potential sale of its digital advertising operations, a sign the telecommunications company is curbing its ambitions to become a force on Madison Avenue, according to people familiar with the matter. AT&T acquired the biggest component of those operations, AppNexus, for about $1.6 billion in 2018 under a plan to challenge heavyweights such as Google owner Alphabet Inc. for a piece of the multibillion-dollar digital ad marketplace.

AT&T Aims To Change Big Tech Protections

Telecom giant AT&T plans to push for changes to a federal law that protects companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter from liability for users’ posts. “There is no longer any reason that the nation’s most powerful online platforms should enjoy legal immunities unavailable to similarly-situated traditional companies,” AT&T EVP Joan Marsh said Monday in a blog post.

AT&T Again Exploring A Deal For DirecTV

AT&T is taking a fresh look at its DirecTV business, according to people familiar with the matter, exploring a deal for a satellite-TV service wounded by cord cutting.

WISH-WNDY Sue AT&T For Discrimination

Circle City Broadcasting, owner of WISH and WNDY Indianapolis, has filed suit against AT&T, claiming “intentional misconduct” by the cable provider over retrans rates.

DirecTV, AT&T TV Raise Monthly Prices For New Customers

DirecTV Keeps Fox In Local Channel Fight

AT&T has reached a multi-year deal with Fox to allow DirecTV to offer the network’s programming in approximately 12 rural markets where the satcaster does not provide local channels.

AT&T, Fox Strike STELAR-Related Carriage Deal

AT&T has struck a multi-year deal with Fox to continue to deliver its TV stations via DirecTV after the sunset of the blanket license. AT&T said it has been negotiating with all the networks to continue to deliver signals to truckers, RVs and others after Congress passed a bill, the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization, that ended the blanket license June 1, requiring AT&T to negotiate individual deals if it wanted to continue to import distant network TV signals to markets and subs who lacked a local version.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Why AT&T Might Not Sell DirecTV

Last week’s Fox Business report that “bankers” are saying AT&T needs to sell DirecTV because it’s an ‘underperforming asset’ certainly rings true. Since AT&T purchased DIRECTV in 2015 for $49 billion, the nation’s top satellite TV service has lost roughly five million subscribers. Making matters worse, the customer defections are dramatically increasing with each financial quarter. But there is one reason why AT&T might not sell. And it’s not because AT&T still sees value in the satcaster, which company executives suggest in half-hearted declarations to shareholders and financial analysts. No, the real reason why AT&T might not sell DirecTV is that no one might want to buy it.

Will AT&T Soon Sell DirecTV?

Bankers say AT&T needs to sell DIRECTV due to the coronavirus outbreak and accumulating company debt, according to a Fox Business report. The report does not name the bankers, nor say how many are offering this opinion. It also does not say if the bankers are communicating this position with AT&T, or if AT&T is accepting the verdict that it’s time to unload the nation’s top satellite TV service.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Retiring

It’s a changing of the guard at AT&T, which revealed Friday that CEO Randall Stephenson is retiring and chief operating officer John Stankey will take the top job as of July 1. The move was announced at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders. Stephenson, 60, and chairman-CEO for the past 13 years, will serve as executive chairman of the board of directors until January to ensure a smooth transition.

QUARTERLY REPORT

AT&T Misses 1Q Revenue Estimates

AT&T’s first quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company pulled its annual forecast on Wednesday, as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak overshadowed strong growth in monthly phone subscribers. It also lost 897,000 so-called premium TV subscribers, which includes its satellite TV provider DirecTV and a small number of U-Verse users as more consumers cut cords amid the pandemic.

AT&T To Shutter Audience Network On May 22

AT&T Investors Denied A Dial-In As Annual Meeting Goes Online

AT&T Stops Selling U-verse TV

The telco is prioritizing its new internet-net-based pay TV platform, AT&T TV and has stopped selling its 14-year-old IPTV pay TV platform, U-verse TV.

Charter Licenses Dodgers RSN To AT&T

Charter Communications and AT&T have finally reached an agreement on the latter’s carriage of regional sports network SportsNet LA, breaking an impasse that started in 2014.

AT&T Scraps $4B Share Repurchase Plan

AT&T has decided to forgo its $4 billion accelerated share repurchase plan, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a time to “to maintain flexibility and focus on continued investment in serving our customers, taking care of our employees and enhancing our network, including nationwide 5G.”

AT&T Mulls Bids For RSNs, Says CFO

AT&T CFO John Stephens on Tuesday told an investors conference that an auction to sell four regional sports networks to reduce overall debt is nearing a possible buyer and conclusion. “We have had on the market our regional sport networks and we’re looking at the potential for those,” Stephens said.

AT&T Sells Quickplay To Firstlight Media

AT&T’s New Streamer Debuts Today

AT&T TV will have most of the same channels offered on the company’s shrinking DirecTV, but it’ll come over the internet rather than a satellite dish. AT&T has been testing the service in 13 markets and is now making it available to anyone.

AT&T’s RSN Auction Coming Up Short

AT&T’s auction to sell four regional sports networks appears to be faltering — the latest sign that the business of airing local sports is in trouble as Americans continue to cut their ties with cable. The wireless giant has received multiple bids for its group of four sports channels covering markets around Seattle, Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston — but all of them came in around or below $500 million for the lot, significantly short of expectations estimated to be around $1 billion.

Is AT&T Setting Up A Warner Sibling Rivalry?

As WarnerMedia’s streamer HBO Max preps for a May launch, a new film division will become a direct pipeline — and could spark awkward internal politics.

Comcast’s Bad Omen For AT&T

Cord-cutting isn’t stopping. As it turns out, that’s not such bad news for cable giants like Comcast Corp. It is, however, for AT&T Inc.

What You Need To Know About 5G In 2020

After years of hype, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are giving consumers clarity on what their next-generation cellular networks will realistically do.

Hearst Reaches Deal With DirecTV, AT&T

At AT&T spokesman said a new retransmission consent agreement was reached Sunday, and stations are returning to DirecTV and AT&T in time for the NFL Playoffs and Golden Globes, among other programming.

AT&T Sets 2020 DirecTV, U-Verse Price Hikes

AT&T, which is trying to chip away at its large debt load and manage through a period of secular decline in its traditional pay TV businesses, has set a round of price hikes at DirecTV and U-verse. Beginning Jan. 19, 2020, some customers of the satellite and cable outlets will see their monthly packages rise by $1 to $8 a month depending on the tier.

DMA 28: NASHVILLE

AT&T, WNAB Set Retrans Agreement

AT&T reached a renewal of its retransmission agreement with Nashville License Holdings, which owns the CW affiliate in Nashville, lifting a six-month blackout and ending a dispute that affected a dozen stations that operate under shared service agreements with Sinclair Broadcast Group.

AT&T Stock Drops On Analyst Downgrade

AT&T’s stock ended its steady march higher Tuesday, dropping nearly 3% after respected Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett downgraded the telecom and media giant’s shares and called its pay-TV unit a “cancer.”

Sony Buys Out AT&T Stake In Game Show Network