Public disputes between MVPDs and programmers are on the rise at a time of rapid transformation of the pay-TV marketplace as low-cost new entrants such as Hulu and YouTube move in. But DIrecTV is not alone among distributors in facing contract showdowns. Last month DirecTV rival Dish came to terms on a carriage deal with Univision after a nine-month blackout.
AT&T simply has not yet demonstrated that they recognize the value of our programming and the high regard we have for our viewers – including AT&T’s own customers." "AT&T has not demonstrated a willingness to negotiate reasonably," Buccieri wrote. "The deal we are seeking is based on the same fair market terms that have allowed us to reach deals with numerous other providers.
AT&T is under pressure to improve the financial picture at DirecTV as the company shoulders a $170 billion debt load leftover from its acquisitions of DirecTV in 2015 and Time Warner in 2018.
Earlier this week, AT&T reported a loss of 544,000 DirecTV subscribers in the first quarter, bringing total subs across AT&T's MVPD services to 22.4 million. DirecTV parent AT&T has been blunt in its discussions with Wall Street about its intent to hammer down on rising programming costs as DirecTV service suffers from substantial subscriber losses as the pay-TV eco system evolves.
(Pictured: A&E Network's "Live PD")” />
The A+E Networks channel portfolio also includes FYI, Lifetime Movie Network and Viceland. A+E Networks is expected to begin running promo spots warning viewers about the contract tussle, and a crawl message on its largest channels.
It seems that concern has become a reality." "Many, including the U.S. Department of Justice, were concerned that AT&T would have the ability and incentive to discriminate against programmers like A+E Networks and others like us. "Having recently acquired WarnerMedia, AT&T appears intent on using their new position to gain an unfair advantage for their own channels," Buccieri wrote.
DirecTV last month concluded tense carriage renewal negotiations with Viacom that also involved public saber-rattling on both sides. Buccieri raised the specter of AT&T discriminating against an outside programming service after bulking up on acquisitions.
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. A+E was expected to begin running a crawl Saturday evening on select programs across its channels informing viewers of the potential for the channels to go dark.
A+E Networks Group CEO Paul Buccieri alerted company staffers to the situation in a memo sent Saturday afternoon. Negotiations are ongoing but A+E Networks brass are clearly concerned.

At a time when traditional media companies are increasingly focused on digital distribution, Paramount Network's top executives emphasized their brand's role as a cable channel in the traditional MVPD universe Monday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
Kay also announced that "Heathers" will premiere March 7.” />
"We want people to watch live, live same day, DVR," Cox said.
"We want to make linear TV urgent again," Paramount Network president Kevin Kay said Monday in an executive session with the channel's development and programming president, Keith Cox. We want people to have conversations about it." Kay added that the weekly linear scheduling of programming will help Paramount drive conversation around its shows in a way that Netflix with its binge-release strategy cannot. "We want people to watch it.
Spike TV had been positioned as a male-skewing channel. Kay said that the new programming strategy for Paramount Network is designed to steer the channel toward more gender balance.
"We don’t want the Spike audience to go away, but we want to broaden the audience." "We’re trying to reach men and women 18-49," Kay said. "Spike was in its infancy very male, sometimes 70-80% male." He added that the network is striving for a male-female balance close to 50-50.
"It’s disheartening." "What Harvey did is disgusting," Kay said.
Kay did say that the Weinstein Company's credit will be restored when and if the company reemerges with a new name. "The Weinstein Company will not be credited until they reconstitute their company," he said, expressing optimism that TWC will recover from the turmoil in which it is currently ensnared.
Spike TV will undergo a relaunch Thursday, rebranding itself as Paramount Network. Corporate parent Viacom is positioning the channel as a general-entertainment destination specializing in scripted drama and comedy.
Paramount Network on Monday presented panels with the casts and creators of several of the new series it is looking to reinvent its brand with, including the miniseries "Waco," drama "Yellowstone," and comedies "American Woman" and "Heathers."
Kay also said that disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, who executive produced "Yellowstone" and "Waco," will not be credited on either series — nor will The Weinstein Company's, which produced them.

"If 'Power' was on Sunday we'd be in a different situation," he said.
All that said, Albrecht predicted the sides will eventually come to a deal, even if communications between the companies are mostly through the media right now.
The industry is abuzz about the migration of traditional TV channels to direct-to-consumer streaming options. But Starz's carriage standoff with Altice USA demonstrates the limits at present of a standalone streaming option as an alternative to old-fashioned MVPD distribution.
"It's not that binary right now," Albrecht said Friday during Starz's portion of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Subscribers to the OTT service need a good broadband connection and most likely a means of directing the online stream to a TV set.
"One of the strengths of the MVPD bundle is that it's still serving people that want (traditional TV viewing)." "There certainly are people who are not as savvy as being able to go and get another box to connect to their television so they can watch their Starz subscription," Albrecht said.
Albrecht was pressed about plans for the second season of its elaborate fantasy series "American Gods." Showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have left the project — sort of — after a clash with producer FremantleMedia North America on the budget needed to deliver Season 2. Fuller and Green "were not fired, nor did they quit," Albrecht said.
Neil Gaiman, author of the novel of the same name, is taking on more of the "traditional showrunner role" although he will be paired with a seasoned TV producer. "Brian and Michael will be involved as much as they can be. It's a little bit up in the air what their exact role will be," he said.
Starz already is a premium service that requires subscribers to pay an additional monthly fee beyond basic MVPD service. Altice's reasoning is that if customers want Starz, they can easily access to the content via the standalone app.
1 as the two sides failed to come to terms on a new contract agreement. Altice has pointed to the fact that Starz has a standalone streaming option as a reason why it is balking at paying higher carriage fees in a new deal. The 17 Starz-Encore channels went dark on Altice USA systems as of Jan.
Starz and producer Sony Pictures TV "are having very productive discussions about the future of the show."” /> "I wouldn't worry too much about that — there's 10 books and the show's doing well," he said.
"They paid a lot of money for the systems they bought. They've been having a lot of difficult programming discussions. "This is a company that's been beaten up," he said. I'm sure the (Altice) board isn't happy with the management."
Fantasy drama "Outlander" logged its most-watched season to date last year with its fourth season. There's been no official word on a renewal for Season 5 but Albrecht said there was no doubt it will return.
"It’s a big show, it's a monster show. It's faced many of the the challenges that terrific, complex premium shows face in trying to get successive seasons, especially when art comes before commerce," Albrecht said.
Both sides are financially incentivized to make things work. It's becoming increasingly a case of MVPDs wanting to pay less but still be able to charge their customers more. Obviously that doesn't work for us." "These negotiations are always difficult. "This thing is far from over," he said.
Starz also wants the stability of contractual carriage fee commitments rather than the less-predictable income from standalone subscribers. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht acknowledged to reporters on Friday that steering customers to the streaming app isn't a panacea for lost distribution in big markets including Long Island and Connecticut. Altice USA has about 4.9 million subscribers in 21 states.
He also suggested that the company was struggling under the weight of its acquisition of the former Cablevision systems in 2016. Albrecht blasted Altice for its failure to offer rebates to customers who have already paid the monthly fee for Starz.
He said Starz is carried in 43% of African-American homes that have some form of multichannel service. "Power" won't be back with new episodes until later this year. Albrecht predicted that Altice will eventually face pressure from subscribers in the New York area who are missing shows. Albrecht talked up Starz's success in reaching multicultural audiences with shows such as drama "Power," which he said ranks as the top-rated pay TV series in African-American homes.