By Farrah Khan
Starting Tuesday, A&E Network viewers may be experiencing a blackout from viewing their channels through DirecTV. The carriage contract renewal between A&E Networks and DirecTV has been stalled by a deadlock.
AT&T, parent company of DirecTV, acquired the company in 2015 and have been under pressure to improve their financial status. DirecTV is suffering from losing a substantial number of subscribers with a $170 billion debt. According to Variety, AT&T have lost about 544,000 subscribers in the first quarter. AT&T have been looking at their programming contracts with a close eye to accommodate for the loss of revenue for DirecTV.
This is not something new when it comes to programming contracts that are being renewed. Given the rise of streaming channels such as Hulu and YouTube, the pay-tv marketplace has been under pressure to keep up with the loss of demand and negotiating power for their programming contracts.
A&E Networks have commented that AT&T have discriminated them given all their recent acquisitions and have not made a fair offer which have been within. A&E CEO Paul Buccieri commented to Variety, “AT&T has not demonstrated a willingness to negotiate reasonably. 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 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.”
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