AT&T Strikes Distant-Signal Deals

Said ABC is only net left

AT&T said it has struck individual deals with all the major broadcast networks but ABC to continue to deliver distant network affiliated TV signals via DirecTV to truckers, RV users and some viewers in markets without a viewable signal for those networks. 

“We recently reached agreements with almost all of the major networks to minimize disruptions for as many customers as possible,” the company said. “We negotiated with the major networks and completed deals with all the networks except ABC. We are still in talks with ABC but can’t disclose any specifics. Our goal is to continue providing network content to as many homes as possible.” 

Related: AT&T, Fox Strike Carriage Deal 

The sunset for the blanket license that allowed DirecTV to deliver those signals without striking individual carriage deals sunset on June 1 per Congress’ decision not to renew it. 

“A change in law prohibits DIRECTV from legally providing out-of-market broadcast network stations,” AT&T said in a statement. “We objected to this change, but broadcast station owners retain exclusive control over who can receive their content locally.” 

AT&T could have retained the license by putting TV station signals in most of a dozen of the smallest markets on DirecTV, where it has chosen not to carry them. Satellite operators do not have a must-carry obligation, as do cable operators, but if they do carry a TV station in a market, they must carry them all.