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.”
The western sports and lifestyle network from Rural Media Group is now available in more than 30 million homes.
There are three major carriage disputes that have left scores of thousands of viewers unable to watch their local channels for more than month: DirecTV vs. American Spirit Media, AT&T vs. Capitol Broadcasting and Dish Network vs. Lilly Broadcasting.
HITV, owner of Hawaii MyNetworkTV affiliate KFVE, filed a complaint with the FCC alleging that DirecTV violated the agency’s rules requiring it to negotiate in good faith.
In the last 10 quarters, or 30 months, U-verse has lost 2.254 million net video subscribers. AT&T had indicated that it was converting U-verse customers to its DBS service, which has far lower wholesale programming costs, though it has also moved some U-verse subscribers to the DirecTV Now service as well.
The Hawaiian independent station was dropped from the satellite service Thursday following four extensions over the last seven weeks of its carriage deal.
A month-long retrans impasse between AT&T and Dispatch Broadcast Group has been settled. A new three-year renewal has returned Dispatch’s CBS affiliate WBNS Columbus, Ohio, and NBC affiliate WTHR Indianapolis to DirecTV and U-Verse. Terms were not announced. DirecTV also ended its dispute with Denali Media Holdings.
AT&T, the parent company of DirecTV, will report losing 90,000 video customers when it discloses quarterly financial results this month due in part to cord-cutting, the telecommunications company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. AT&T, which is still awaiting final approval on its $85 billion merger with Time Warner, said it will lose 390,000 traditional video subscribers but gain 300,000 to its over-the-top digital service.
After a number of extensions, Raycom Media signed a new carriage agreement with DirecTV on Wednesday, preventing a blackout of Raycom’s 54 stations. “Our local commitment is to always put the needs of the communities we serve first,” said Pat LaPlatney, Raycom CEO. “We’re pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement without any disruption to our viewers on the DirecTV system.”
AT&T has signed another temporary agreement with Raycom Media to keep its 40-plus local stations in AT&T’s DirecTV’s lineup. The new deadline for a carriage deal is tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 27) at 8 p.m. ET. If a new agreement is not signed by then, Raycom could pull its network affiliates from the satcaster.
DirecTV has dropped seven American Media Stations and AT&T has dropped another four stations carried on its U-Verse platform.
While the American TV Alliance says retrans is “totally rigged” in favor of the broadcasters, the broadcasters target AT&T for “greed that has led it to cannibalize its own [U-Verse] service and mistreat its own customers.” AT&T also owns DirecTV.
The station group and owner of DirecTV and U-Verse cannot come to terms on a new retransmission consent pack and so exchanging harsh words on their website in battle for hearts and minds of consumers.
The station group and and satellite operator agreed to a 48-extension of their current deal, which was set to expire last night, suggesting that they are close to long-term deal.
Dispatch Broadcast Group’s WTHR Indianapolis (NBC) and WBNS Columbus, Ohio (CBS) are now off of DirecTV and AT&T U-verse. In a statement, Dispatch said that it “has completed numerous retransmission agreements in the past 12 months at fair market rates without any service interruption. Unfortunately, after offering an extension last Friday to hopefully reach a fair market deal, the deadline to reach a fair agreement with DirecTV and AT&T U-verse has passed, resulting in the interruption of service …. We will continue to work towards a fair agreement with DirecTV and AT&T U-verse and hope to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”
DirecTV and Raycom last night agreed to a second temporary extension in their carriage agreement, preventing a blackout of Raycom’s 54 stations. The extension runs through Sept. 12.
The broadcaster says it wants to ensure continued storm coverage and relief efforts so has moved the deadline for a new retrans deal with the satellite provider through Tuesday, Sept. 5.
DirecTV could lose more than 40 stations tonight due to a retrans dispute with their owner, Raycom. The current carriage pact between the companies expires at tonight at 11:59 ET and Raycom has turned the heat up with a sharply critical notice posted yesterday at its stations’ websites.
The satellite provider is up against a 11:59 P.M. deadline today with Raycom and is also facing losing two Dispatch Broadcast Group stations on Friday.
A federal judge in California has paused a trial in which the FTC is seeking $4 billion from AT&T and will allow the telecom to file for a partial judgment. U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. said there is a “substantial issue” in regard to the FTC’s calculations of its $4 billion “unjust gains” calculation. The judge gave AT&T attorneys two weeks to file briefings, further poking holes in that math.
DirecTV could lose more than 40 Raycom stations in the coming days, according to viewer alerts posted today at the station’s websites. “The DirecTV satellite system is about to drop us and break that critical link to our viewers,” reads the Raycom viewer warning. “We are currently working hard to make sure DirecTV customers continue to have access to [the Raycom stations] without interruption. But there is a chance they will not agree to a fair deal, and decide to drop [Raycom] from their system.”
Randall Stephenson will remain chief executive, while Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan steps up to run consumer units, including mobile, DirecTV, streaming service DirecTV Now and AT&T U-Verse. John Stankey, who has been running DirecTV, will oversee Time Warner.
The DBS service ended the quarter with 20.856 million subscribers. DirecTV added a net total of 342,000 subscribers in last year’s second quarter, and the 156,000 net loss in this year’s second quarter was by far the worst quarterly sub result for the DBS service since it was bought by AT&T.
It’s dominated by sporting events. The satcaster, which has a dedicated channel for live events in 4K (ch. 106), will air the Daniel Comier-Jon Jones UFC light heavyweight championship in 4K on PPV. The event, which will begin this Saturday (July 29) at 10 p.m. ET, will cost $69.99 for the 4K feed; the HD edition will be $59.99. In addition, starting Tuesday, DIRECTV has nine Major League Baseball games scheduled in 4K. They will all air on ch. 106.