In advance of a trial next month over the satellite provider’s sales and marketing practices, the FTC said that if found guilty, DirecTV should be required to put $3.95 billion into an account “to create a fund” that would “be used to provide redress to eligible customers.”
CBS News had it wrong when it reported that AT&T’s DirecTV was cheating customers with “bait and switch” tactics and overcharges over the past two years, AT&T told a group of Democratic senators who raised questions about the story. “Contrary to what is suggested in the story, AT&T is fully committed to honoring its deals, offers, and promotions—and AT&T meets that commitment every day.”
The two cable MSOs have rolled out ad campaigns/promotions targeting DirecTV’s DBS service and its DirecTV Now online video service.
The American Cable Association renewed its campaign to get the FCC to charge satellite TV companies Dish Network and DirecTV the same regulatory fees that it charges cable and IPTV operators. In comments sent to the FCC, ACA notes that the agency’s latest notice of proposed rulemaking proposes a 96-cent-per-subscriber fee on cable and telco operators in fiscal 2017, but only a 38-cent-per-sub fee for DBS providers.
DirecTV may be considering launching a YouTube-like TV channel that would display user-generated photos and videos, according to company documents filed with the U.S Patent & Trademark Office. The satcaster has filed for a trademark for a channel that would be called, My View, described as an online social networking service offering “user-generated photos and videos delivered on a dedicated subscription-based television channel.”
With AT&T’s core wireless business getting tougher and tougher, the telecom giant has looked to reinvent itself as the model of a next-generation media conglomerate, starting with the $49 billion deal to buy DirecTV in 2015. AT&T is trying to imagine a future where your smartphone is the center of the entertainment universe, and taking active steps to get there. That future, however, is not a sure thing, and AT&T has seen the growth of one of its marquee efforts stall in early 2017.
A CBS Evening News story focused on complaints from consumers about the promotional subscriptions and prices new customers agree to pay for DirecTV and Internet service, but, the consumers said, AT&T does live up to.
CEO Randall Stephenson vowed to “make some adjustments” with the marketing of DirecTV after a quarter in which “churn was up significantly” — especially among those who don’t buy it as part of a bundle. He attributed the weakness to competition from streaming services, as well as as cable companies offering with their triple-play offers, combining video, Internet and voice services, he noted. “We continue to be big, big advocates of the integrated bundle.”
DirecTV has come to terms on a new broadcast retransmission licensing deal with family-owned Lilly family-owned SJL Broadcasting, ending a blackout on six network affiliates in three markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The blackout, which started April 1, affected stations in Elmira, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; and Honolulu.
Manship’s two ABC affiliates — WBRZ Baton Rouge, La., and KRGV Weslaco, Texas,– went dark on DirecTV last Friday night. “After months of attempting to come to an agreement, DirecTV has failed to realize the importance of local news and entertainment and pulled programming from its lineup,” said Manship in a statement.
Manship Family’s KRGV Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas, and WBRZ Baton Rouge, La., have posted notices on their websites that their signals could be pulled from the satellite service at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday.
DirecTV has apparently lost 12 local channels in five markets due to a fee fight with their owner, Lilly Broadcasting. The channels affected in the dispute are: WSEE (CBS-CW) Erie, Pa.; WICU (NBC) Erie; WENY (CBS-ABC-CW) Elmira, N.Y; KMAU (ABC-MeTV) Wailuku, Hawaii; KHVO (ABC-MeTV) Hilo, Hawaii; and KITV (ABC-MeTV) Honolulu.
By now, it’s crystal-clear that DirecTV Now will not keep its promise that it would be available on Roku’s streaming devices in the first quarter. And while the live streaming service is available on Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, smart phones, tablets and other platforms, Roku’s absence, and the missed deadline, has DirecTV Now customers (and potential customers) hopping mad, according to social media activity.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed court papers on Thursday indicating that it has reached a deal with AT&T and DirecTV to resolve an antitrust lawsuit that accused the companies of sharing information during negotiations to carry SportsNet LA, the regional sports network holding the exclusive rights to telecast live Los Angeles Dodgers games in the L.A. area. The proposed deal contemplates future restrictions on what MVPDs are allowed to exchange with each other.
Looking to soon own HBO outright, AT&T is already leveraging the premium network in a very aggressive way, offering customers who sign up for the higher tiers of its virtual MVPD service a free year of the network.
AT&T is negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve allegations that DirecTV executives improperly colluded with other pay-TV providers three years ago, effectively blocking carriage of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ television channel in Southern California. A settlement could come in the next two weeks.
DIirecTV Now, the live streaming service from AT&T,was hit with another outage on Sunday morning with dozens of channels blacked out. Since its debut on Nov. 30, 2016, DirecTV Now has been riddled with errors, and at least four major outages that blacked out the entire service. This outage now makes five.
The glitchy, twitchy DirecTV Now streaming service has its early customers twisting in outrage, but Sarah Perez reports that owner AT&T has no plans to offer refunds as yet. What’s worse, beyond venting in online chat forums, “customers found the only way to get help was through a hard-to-find chat feature,” where refund talk is squashed by reps.
DirecTV Now’s $35 a month price for 100-plus channels — which some analysts thought was too good, or foolish, to be true — soon will be history. AT&T says that on Jan. 9 the introductory offer will expire, and the streaming service’s “Go Big” package will cost $60.
Dec. 31 is the deadline for a new contract between Cox Media Group’s stations and AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV.
DirecTV and Hearst Television are negotiating a renewal of the retransmission consent agreement for the carriage of Hearst broadcast stations on DirecTV’s systems. The current deal expires on Jan. 1.
AT&T is still working to reconcile the rights complexities of NFL football with the technological execution of DirecTV Now, with users of the virtual platform still complaining that they’re being improperly blacked out of local NFL games.
The NBA in 4K has finally arrived in the U.S. NBA TV and DirecTV delivered UHD coverage of two games, one on Nov. 22 and the other on Dec. 3, with Altitude Sports and Mobile TV Group producing both the HD and 4K feeds out of one truck.
Eager to deliver its customers over-the-top video, CenturyLink is looking at becoming a reseller of DirecTV Now, the virtual MVPD service launched last week by telco rival AT&T.
Last week’s launch of DirecTV Now was plagued with errors, but AT&T says it’s thrilled with the early interest in its new streaming bundle offering. “The early demand has been rather dramatic … we’ve been pleased with it,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman, CEO and president, said this morning at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York
AT&T’s new live TV streaming service debuted Wednesday with a free seven-day trial and attractive $35 introductory price, but plenty of first-time users are experiencing trouble.
The new streaming service from AT&T that debuts on Wednesday will carry live the owned stations of ABC, NBC and Fox in their entirely within their markets as well as offer the networks’ primetime shows on demand the day after their initial airing. But deals aren’t in place yet to carry the networks’ affiliates. For the time being, subscribers in those markets will have to settle for watching network programs the day after on demand. AT&T exec John Stankey says he’s also working to bring the CBS stations on board, but could live without them.
It’s unclear if the new service, DirecTV Now, will break out with consumers. But it has the size to get better deals from entertainment companies, who have slowly come around to the idea of streaming. And if that doesn’t work, watch for a live-TV operation from Hulu early next year. And maybe one from Google. Or, who knows, maybe even Apple, too.
Next week, AT&T Inc. is leaping into online streaming with DirecTV Now, but it’s taking the plunge without CBS Corp., the most popular TV network and the lone holdout for the service among the top media companies, according to people familiar with the matter.