A + E Networks warns viewers about possible power outages on A & E Network, Lifetime, History and other channels on DirecTV platforms as the sites get around negotiating the coach renewal.
DirecTV and A + E Networks have a deadline of midnight and ET Tuesday is about to sign a deal that will keep A + E Networks channels on DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse. A + E was expected to do a crawl on Saturday night with selected programs on all channels to inform viewers that the channels might be getting dark.
Negotiations are underway, but A + E Networks is obviously concerned. Paul Buccieri, CEO of the A + E Networks group, informed the company's employees in a memorandum on Saturday afternoon.
"AT & T has shown no willingness to reasonably negotiate," Buccieri wrote. "The deal we are looking for is based on the same fair market conditions that have allowed us to make deals with numerous other providers. AT & T simply has not proved that they recognize the value of programming and the appreciation we have for our viewers ̵
DirecTV, AT & T's parent In its discussions with Wall Street about its intention to curb rising programming costs, it is clear that the DirecTV service suffers significant subscriber losses as the pay-TV ecosystem evolves. Earlier this week, AT & T lost 544,000 DirecTV subscribers in the first quarter, bringing the total number of submarines of all AT & T MVPD services to 22.4 million.
AT & T is under pressure to improve DirecTV's financial position as the company raises $ 170 billion in debt from the 2015 and Time Warner acquisitions in 2018.
A statement by DirecTV has attempted to protect consumers from price increases.
"We are disappointed that A & E puts our customers in the middle of their negotiations. We are on the side of choosing and benefiting customers and want to keep these channels in the ranks of our customers. We hope to avoid interruption of these channels that interest some of our customers, "said DirecTV in a statement. "Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers need to value that makes sense to them. We've always struggled to get the best deal for our customers and deliver the content you want at a bargain price. We will continue to fight for this. "
Buccieri picked up the specter that AT & T is discriminating against an external programming service after he stepped up acquisitions. DirecTV completed tense negotiations last month on the renewal of the car with Viacom, which involved public saber rattling on both sides.
But DIrecTV is not the only distributor that has contract showdowns. Public disputes between MVPDs and programmers are increasing at a time of rapid pay-TV market changes as new low-cost carriers like Hulu and YouTube move in. Last month, the DirecTV rival Dish had agreed with a Univision contract after a nine-month blackout.
"After AT & T recently acquired WarnerMedia, it appears to be its intention to use its new position to gain an unfair advantage to its own channels," Buccieri wrote. "Many, including the US Department of Justice, were concerned that AT & T might have the ability and incentive to discriminate programmers like A + E Networks and others like us. It seems that concern has become a reality.
It is expected that A + E Networks will begin with promo spots that warn viewers about the contract dispute and a creep message on its biggest channels. The A + E Networks channel portfolio also includes the FYI, Lifetime Movie Network and Viceland.
(Pictured: "Live PD" by A & E Network)