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.
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.
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.
Dan York, who spent more than two decades with the company and was the face of DirecTV in the television industry, is leaving the company after two decades. AT&T on Thursday confirmed York’s planned March 1 exit.
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.
Hearst Television, after granting four temporary extensions to DirecTV and streaming service AT&T TV Now to try to hammer out a deal, pulled its 34 broadcast stations from the satellite giant’s customers Friday evening, after the parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement.
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.
The FCC today ordered nine TV station groups linked to Sinclair Broadcast Group to return to the negotiating table with AT&T’s DirectTV after some consumers have been without access to 20 stations for five months.
Regional sports network Altitude has reached a new carriage deal with AT&T’s DirecTV, ending a two-month blackout. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Hank Price: “Allowing STELAR to finally die a natural death at the end of this year means the free market system would return, bringing fairness along for good measure. Sunsetting STELAR means DirecTV would no longer have the right to retransmit stations without their permission.
DirecTV outraged a number of customers who are being deprived of their NFL Sunday Ticket streaming. The service acknowledged the problem in a tweet shortly after noon yesterday. “We are aware that some customers may be experiencing streaming issues with NFL Sunday Ticket. We are working to fix as quickly as possible.”
AT&T COO John Stankey questions the growth potential of the football package; says the longtime cornerstone could be “less critical to the business over time.”
AT&T says it’s not planning to offload its stagnant satellite video offering, but if it does it may sell for far less than the $67 billion it paid in 2015.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T COO John Stankey, in defending the company’s strategy in the media business, says it doesn’t plan to sell its DirecTV unit, viewing the satellite TV provider as central to its ambitions in streaming video. “DirecTV is an important part of what we’re going to be doing going forward.” Last week, the Journal reported that AT&T was looking to unload the unit in the face of declining subscribership.
The Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement in principle Friday evening on a new retransmission consent and carriage deal with AT&T that would keep networks including ABC, ESPN and the Disney Channel glowing in homes with DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dish Network’s chances of buying DirecTV could be about as remote as a satellite that’s orbiting the earth. That’s the take from sources close to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen, who say that in addition to regulatory stumbling blocks, the mercurial billionaire faces tough financial hurdles in acquiring his longtime rival.
AT&T, which paid $49 billion to acquire DirecTV in 2015, has faced increasing pressure from investors to get the satellite distributor on a more promising path. This week, the notion that the companies could part ways has gained currency.
After lengthy blackouts of CBS and Nexstar stations, plus the impact of price increases, AT&T expects to lose about 300,000 to 350,000 subscribers in the quarter, CFO John Stephens said Wednesday.
If the companies are unable to reach a new agreement, DirecTV subscribers could lose access to ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Freeform.
DirectTV and Cowles have reached an impasse in their retransmission consent negotiations, resulting on DirecTV dropping Cowles’ NBC affiliate KHQ Spokane and its satellites serviving Yahima and Richland and four Montana stations — NBC affiliate KULR Billings, ABC affiliate KWYB Butte, ABC affiliate KFBB Great Falls and ABC affiilate KTMF Missoula, according to the stations’ websites. Their last retrans agreement expired in June.
The multi-year deal, which covers DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse, ends a nearly two-month impasse. Terms were not disclosed.
Hank Price: That crucial point in the long-running retrans standoff will come Sept. 5, the day the regular NFL season kicks off on NBC. If there is one thing that will cause consumers to change providers, it is the loss of NFL football. Should that happen, it will be a boon to the cable light OTT services. And the stakes are just as high for Nexstar since the NFL is a very specific advertising buy.
CBS Corp. and AT&T renewed their contract on Thursday, ending a 20 day-long blackout that began when the companies’ previous, seven-year deal expired at 2:00 a.m. ET on July 19.
How does Locast think it can get away with retransmitting broadcast signals to smartphones and smart TVs without compensating broadcasters? By claiming to be a nonprofit. But I expect that a federal judge will see through that fiction and find that it is nothing more than a front for Dish and AT&T’s DirecTV.
The network reported a “dramatic spike in new subscribers” to its CBS All Access streaming service last weekend, compared with the same weekend in 2018. It didn’t say it was due to the retrans impasse that has blackout out CBS stations on AT&T’s DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse, but strongly implied it was in a press release. The release also contains other CBS talking points, including that AT&T has dropped 178 stations in 120 markets in 2019 because of its retrans recalcitrance.
The company, which is engaged in retrans war with broadcasters, posted a net loss of 778,000 “premium video” subscribers, most of whom subscribe to DirecTV, and shed 168,000 streaming DirecTV Now accounts. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson earlier this year told investors the company expects to keep losing pay-TV customers through 2019 as it cut backs on promotions.
Unable to reach on agreement with CBS on programming fees, AT&T early Saturday morning dropped CBS’s broadcast and cable programming from its TV distribution services — DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse, according to CBS. “While CBS has made every effort to avoid this blackout, we won’t agree to terms that undervalue our hit programming enjoyed by nearly 240 million viewers across all dayparts last season,” the network said.
Amid AT&T’s carriage battle with CBS stations, the telecom accused CBS of trying to up-sell pay TV subs to its own All Access service. The current contract between AT&T-owned DirecTV and CBS stations in 14 markets expires at midnight Friday.
Retrans battles are known for their gamesmanship, but Nexstar’s characterization of some of the Hill pushback on the ongoing retrans impasse with AT&T’s DirecTV drew the ire of one local paper, some MVPD fans, and, ultimately, some corrections.
CBS has sent the first shot across the bow in a widely watched carriage fight with AT&T and its DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse pay-TV platforms. The media company said today that it is negotiating “resolutely and in good faith” with the AT&T units ahead of an 11 p.m. PT deadline on Friday.