Disney, AT&T in Carriage Dispute Impacting ABC, ESPN

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Support Forum' started by mackie99, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. mackie99

    mackie99 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master Pub Member / Supporter Lifetime Supporter

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    Disney, AT&T in Carriage Dispute Impacting ABC, ESPN


    If the companies are unable to reach a new agreement, DirecTV subscribers could lose access to ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Freeform.

    Disney has begun warning AT&T and DirecTV video subscribers that they may soon lose ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Freeform and other channels due to a carriage dispute between the two companies.

    “Our contract with AT&T for the ABC, ESPN, Disney, and Freeform networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. "However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”
     
  2. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Well, right now the only affected channels from Disney that are in the Max package but not in the Plus package are ESPNews, ESPN U and SEC Network. All the other Disney stuff is in Plus too: ABC, Disney, Disney Jr. Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN 2 and Freeform. Not really sure I see any of that changing.

    Maybe AT&T tries to get Disney to push Disney XD out of Plus into Max or into an optional add-on Family Extra channel pack? As for the other ESPN channels like ESPN Classic, Bases Loaded, Goal Line, and Buzzer Beater, I expect we'll see them landing in an optional Sports Extra pack. Maybe the new ABC News Live channel gets added to both Plus and Max.

    Generally, though, I'd guess this negotiation is mainly just about carriage rates. Both Disney and AT&T are giants who need each other, especially right now with the launch of football season and the new fall TV season (for Disney) and the pending nationwide launch of AT&T TV (for AT&T). If there's a blackout at all, I bet it won't last long.
     
  3. Don in CT

    Don in CT SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I saw this in the ESPN bottom line last night. I figured since DTV signed up ACCN that they had all of their contracts lined up.
     
  4. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I'll bet it is about packages, and AT&T probably wanting to create better packages without sports and Disney holding firm and only allowing such a package on the lower end.

    Problem is that both have good reasons to be firm in their position. Most cord cutting is happening over price, and prices are so high because of sports and ESPN is the by far the biggest factor in sports cost (well other than local channels but that's a different fight) so AT&T wants to offer better ways for customers drop sports so they'll have lower bills and lower yearly increases.

    ESPN would lose well over half of its revenue if non sports fans were allowed to drop it from their package, they rely on that fact, so they will do everything in their power to maintain the current bundling strategy that forces non sports fans to pay for ESPN if they want higher level packages from cable/satellite providers - they don't want a way to get a "premiere" or "ultimate" type package that doesn't include ESPN.

    When it gets down to it though AT&T can't afford to lose ESPN even for a few days. They pretty much own the commercial market for bars/restaurants thanks to NFLST, losing ESPN would cause them too many problems in that segment alone even ignoring residential customers.
     
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  5. Willh699

    Willh699 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    looks like AT&T is doing ticker censorship again as they have censored the ESPN ticker on ESPN and ESPN 2 and replaced it with a black bar. they did the exact thing with the Viacom channels during now since resolved Viacom dispute.

    edit: added some photo proof of the AT&T censorship of the ESPN ticker.
     

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    #5 Willh699, Sep 10, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  6. Claude Greiner

    Claude Greiner SatelliteGuys Master Supporting Founder

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    I doubt it. Directv can’t afford to loose ESPN
     
  7. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I still think the strategy for AT&T (across the new AT&T TV as well as DirecTV) will be to have a 3-tier channel package line-up:

    Starter: contains no locals or all-sports channels because it basically only offers channels owned by AT&T, Discovery, Viacom, A+E, AMC and Hallmark. (In other words, the stuff currently in AT&T Watch TV.) Want your local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW, PBS, etc? Use an OTA antenna and integrate the free signals into your AT&T TV or DirecTV service using a cheap/free tuner device offered by AT&T.

    Plus: contains all your locals plus the most popular entertainment, news and sports channels from across all network groups. No second-tier/niche sports channels and no RSNs helps keep the cost down. But ESPN, ESPN 2, FS1 and NBCSN are all there.

    Max: everything in Plus, plus your RSNs and many of the less-popular sports channels (including regional college conference channels) and entertainment channels owned by the major network groups.

    Extra Packs: optional add-ons to any of the 3 base packages above. Leftover niche/super-fan channels that didn't make it into Max. (And maybe even some non-Plus channels appear in Max *and* in an Extra Pack too.)

    The ESPN channels would never make their way into my hypothetical Starter package because it doesn't contain *anything* owned by Disney. But the majority of channels that Disney owns would qualify for the Plus package (and are, in fact, already there on the AT&T TV Now service).

    AT&T clearly sees Plus as being the mainstream "sweet spot" package for most cable TV subscribers. Max will really just be for big sports fans, who will bear the brunt of paying another $20 per month for it versus Plus.

    I agree that a protracted blackout of ESPN plus ABC would be a real nightmare for AT&T. OTOH, AT&T seems quite serious about driving hard bargains lately to bend their cost curve down for the next few years. They want to make AT&T TV as attractive as possible price-wise while still retaining an acceptable profit margin on it.
     
  8. Joe The Dragon

    Joe The Dragon SatelliteGuys Pro

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    news in plus?? If they put CNN in starter then fox news and msnbc may demand to be on the same level. Also the PI c-span may be there as well.
     
  9. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Constantly posting your vision for their future won't guarantee it will happen as you predict/want. You should start linking to your previous posts so you don't have to cut and paste the same spiel over and over again on both satellite forums.
     
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  10. Juan

    Juan Supporting Founder Supporting Founder

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    Why would you not include locals in your most basic package?
    Sent from my SM-G950U using the SatelliteGuys app!
     
  11. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    The short answer is that locals are expensive. Comcast charges their cable TV subscribers $10/mo for them. Charter charges even more. They've increased their broadcast TV fee covering locals three times now in the last year, from $9 to $10, then to $12, and next month to $13.50/mo. And those are the two largest cable operators in the nation. Smaller operators probably negotiated even higher rates with all those local station owners (Sinclair, Nexstar, etc., along with the 4 major networks themselves which own their largest market affiliates). And cable TV services -- whether cable, telco, satellite or streaming -- always seem to be in a renegotiation standoff with one of those local station groups, resulting in a blackout that interrupts service on one of the channels their customers watch the most.

    So if you're looking to cut costs from a pay TV bill, and take back some negotiating power with the locals, it makes sense for a pay TV provider to offer a low-cost package that simply doesn't include any locals at all and allow those customers who want them to integrate them for free using an OTA antenna. DirecTV already sends out a free tuner that plugs into the back of their Genie DVRs when a local station is blacked out. Why couldn't they include such tuners for free (or for a small fee) to customers who signed up for a new Starter package that doesn't include locals? Same holds true on AT&T TV (although in that case, the tuner would likely look more like Sling's AirTV tuner that plugs into your home's wifi network).

    Of course, if you don't include ABC's, CBS's, NBC's and Fox's major market affiliates that they directly own in places like NYC, LA, Chicago, Philly, Washington, etc., then they're not going to let you include any of their cable channels in that package either. So no ESPN or Disney, no Fox News or FS1, no USA or MSNBC. But then sports channels (and Fox News) are the most expensive cable channels to carry anyhow. So by excluding all that stuff, and locals too, you can end up with a $20 service like Philo or a $15 service like AT&T Watch TV.

    If AT&T took their Watch TV package and made it a Starter package in AT&T TV, no one -- not AT&T nor the major network owners -- would expect it to be that service's most popular package. No, it would just be a cheap alternative for folks who either didn't care about their locals or could use an OTA antenna, and who also didn't care about sports and news channels (other than CNN and BBC World News). The mainstream package that AT&T TV would mainly steer customers toward would be the Plus package, which does carry locals plus the most popular sports, news and entertainment cable channels.
     
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  12. Juan

    Juan Supporting Founder Supporting Founder

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    Remember when cable was just a way to get locals?
    Sent from my SM-G950U using the SatelliteGuys app!
     
  13. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Good ol' community antenna television. And then HBO came along in 1972 and the rest is history...
     
  14. ETS

    ETS SatelliteGuys Pro

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  15. JUCJ85

    JUCJ85 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    If someone has ESPN+ will they still get access to MNF and College Games? I sub to it, so wondering in case DTV loses ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, etc.....
     
  16. Juan

    Juan Supporting Founder Supporting Founder

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    HBO was part time to somewhere around 1980
    Sent from my SM-G950U using the SatelliteGuys app!
     
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  17. Radioguy41

    Radioguy41 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Well what goes around comes around. Disney (who's gearing up it's own streaming offering) is playing hardball with it's shows against it's competition AT&T just as AT&T did with HBO against it's competition Dish. Ha ha. :clapping
     
  18. osu1991

    osu1991 SatelliteGuys Master

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    No,
    ESPN+ does not include access to the linear paytv ESPN channels
     
  19. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    One thing that didn't cross my mind in my earlier post is that AT&T's current negotiations with Disney will, I'm sure, include whether or not AT&T carries their new ACC Network and in which package it gets placed. Given that their SEC Network is already in the Plus package, it seems likely that we'd see the ACC Network go there too. Although, in exchange, perhaps AT&T gets to shove Disney XD and/or Disney Jr. up into Max or off into a hypothetical Family Extra Pack. (Aren't all those parents going to be subscribing to Disney+ for their kids anyhow?)
     

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