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.
The broadcaster says AT&T/DirecTV’s actions contrast sharply with its public commentary and cites eight broadcast groups currently without carriage resulting in a loss of service to consumers in 13 U.S. markets.
With the financial pressure on system operators, pitted against need for broadcasters to eventually achieve parity with the most-watched cable networks, retrans fights and blackouts are bound to sometimes happen. The sad reality is that in the short term everyone loses. Viewers lose their favorite programs, stations lose news viewers, DirecTV loses subscribers and station general managers lose their minds.
Legislators continued to turn up the heat in the ongoing retransmission consent battle between DirecTV and Nexstar Media Group, with representatives from seven states joining Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday in sending letters to DirecTV parent AT&T urging for an end to the blackout as it entered its fifth day.
Many DirecTV and AT&T U-verse subs awoke Thursday to find that Nexstar stations were no longer available. The broadcaster claims the stations were “abruptly removed” by the distributor, while AT&T said it had hoped to prevent a blackout and “even offered Nexstar more money to keep their stations available.”
AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV and Dish Network Corp., suffering the steepest subscriber losses in the pay-TV industry, are open to a merger and both companies believe such a deal could pass muster with U.S. regulators, according to people familiar with their thinking.
The retransmission agreement with AT&T/DirecTV to carry the stations recently expired and after several extensions AT&T/DirecTV and the station were not able to reach an agreement that allows for further carriage.
DirecTV is locked in a retransmission consent dispute with 17 small TV stations in 14 markets across the country that have gone dark to the satellite TV giant after attempts to hammer out a deal failed.
Epix has closed the final link in the chain. At long last, the pay TV channel owned by MGM has set a distribution pact with AT&T’s DirecTV.
Nexstar has sued DirecTV in a New York federal court, claiming breach of contract. At issue is an “unlaunched station fee” that it says DirecTV agreed to pay for not being required to immediately launch Nexstar station WHAG (aka WDVM). The Hagerstown, Md.,, station lost its affiliation with NBC on July 1, 2016.
A+E Networks is warning viewers of a possible blackout of A&E Network, Lifetime, History and other channels across DirecTV platforms as the sides go down to the wire on carriage renewal negotiations. DirecTV and A+E Networks are facing a deadline of midnight ET Tuesday to strike a new deal that will keep A+E Networks channels on DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse.
Potential Viacom channels being dropped from DirecTV could have a major multibillion-dollar effect on the network group in terms of advertising and afffiliate revenue, says one analyst. Todd Juenger, media analyst at Bernstein Research, writes in a note: “Viacom would potentially lose $1 billion [per year] of affiliate revenue and $1 billion of advertising revenue. There would be very little offsetting costs.”
Viacom is blasting telco giant AT&T on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health. As of Tuesday, Viacom had begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels could go dark on AT&T’s DirecTV as of midnight ET on Friday, when the current contract expires.
The lawmakers from Colorado and Wyoming say the satellite operator’s offering of distant signals from New York and Los Angeles in place of local affiliates in 12 small markets is “unacceptable” and “must end.”
Both DirecTV and long-time rival Dish Network have recently reported fourth quarter 2018 operating results and the numbers are not good. The satellite operators are suffering from the same problem as cable operators are — the proliferation of broadband OTT services. None of this is good news for broadcasters since the slow migration of subs from cable and satellite to OTT will likely suppress retrans revenue growth.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Church of Scientology is about to get its own television channel starting Monday. A Twitter handle, website and app for Scientology TV appeared Sunday posting updates to hype the network’s availability on DirecTV, AppleTV, Roku, fireTV, Chromecast, iTunes and Google Play. A tweet Sunday from the ScientologyTV account says, “It’s […]
The FCC’s Media Bureau has sided with DirecTV after Hawaiian MyNetworkTV affiliate KFVE complained that the satellite operator didn’t negotiate with it in good faith. MCG Capital and Raycom Media jointly own HITV, which operates KFVE. The station has been off AT&T-owned DirecTV since Oct. 19, 2017, amid stalled retrans talks. DirecTV has argued that there is little demand for the station, and it has refused to pay fees to carry KFVE.
AT&T has reached a new carriage deal with American Spirit Media, ending a four-month blackout of the broadcaster’s seven stations on both AT&T’s U-verse and DirecTV services. American Spirit is the duopoly partner of Raycom.
After losing 452,000 satellite TV customers in the first nine months of 2017, DirecTV will likely report even more attrition when parent company AT&T announces its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday. “We expect an accelerating contraction of the video base, with a loss of 146,000 satellite subscribers, with little economic offset from a growing OTT business,” said MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett in a note to investors.
The NBC affiliate in Rapid City, S.D., owned by Rapid Broadcasting, went dark on DirecTV as the new year began. The station said it “has been actively negotiating with DirecTV, but was unable to come to an agreement prior to the expiration of the contract.”