Fall brings football and retrans renewals. The FCC still has a retrans complaint pending from AT&T, and there’s some hope for congressional action.
AT&T and Northwest Broadcasting say they’ve ended their nearly eight-month old carriage fight, which means 20 Northwest-owned stations in 10 markets can now return to the AT&T-owned DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now.
Fox Corp. and Dish Network ended a programming blackout Sunday that had kept thousands of the satellite-provider’s subscribers from watching Thursday Night Football and other Fox network favorites for the past week or so.
Charter Communication said Sunday that it reached a long-term retransmission consent deal with Tegna that will keep the broadcast group’s network affiliates available to the cable company’s subscribers. The new contract follows a week of extensions after the old agreement expired.
The new deal covers distribution of the Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, BTN and Fox Deportes.
A sequence of recent actions suggests that cable operators are pushing back against collaboration with the Advanced Television Standards Committee’s efforts to enable carriage of the format on MVPD systems. It is unclear whether they legitimately believe, as claimed, that it is “too early” to establish ATSC 3.0 (aka Next Gen TV) retransmission procedures or if the MVPDs are defensively rejecting the standard’s data transmission opportunities as competition to cable’s own digital agenda.
Sinclair stations remained on AT&T’s U-Verse and DirecTV distribution platforms past the 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, deadline. A source said Sinclair, which ultimately controls the signals, had provided the extension. It was not clear for how long.
Retrans and its derivative net retrans (retrans less reverse comp payment to broadcast networks) will grow at healthy clips for the next few years, she said. Retrans will experience a compound annual growth of 12%, while net retrans climbs at a 5% rate. But starting in 2024, by her reckoning, the rate of growth for retrans falls to 7% and net retrans goes flat.
As a blackout looms with the current retransmission consent impasse between Sinclair and AT&T — Sinclair is warning DirecTV and U-Verse customers the stations (136 stations in 86 markets) could be off those AT&T-owned MVPDs by Sept. 27 — AT&T is framing the impasse for legislators concerned about their constituent/viewers as a still-ongoing negotiation with AT&T, not surprisingly, “on the side of the customer.”