Fox Networks Group and AT&T have reached a deal to add 14 Fox affiliate stations to DirecTV Now. The deal brings the number of Fox affiliates available on the AT&T-owned live-TV streaming service to 31.
The agreement covers Tribune Media-owned stations in markets including Denver, San Diego, and Seattle. Local stations were made available in those and other markets beginning Monday. They join 17 Fox-owned-and-operated stations already available on the service.
Fox has been moving forward on negotiations with digital providers of so-called “skinny bundles” — pay-TV packages delivered via broadband rather than a traditional cable or satellite system — crafting deals that its affiliates can then opt into. With affiliate meetings scheduled for next week’s National Association of Broadcaster Show in Las Vegas, the Big Four are putting a greater emphasis on making sure that their programming is available on the new MVPD alternatives.
Local television has been a major sticking point for many of the new skinny bundles that have entered the marketplace as competitors to traditional MVPDs. Google limited the launch of its YouTube TV initiative last month to the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia markets, where it had secured rights to local ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC station feeds. In January, Dish Network’s Sling TV unveiled a new device, AirTV that would allow users to add local broadcast stations into their guide using an over-the-air antenna.
“We’re excited about the power of DirecTV Now to expand the premium TV marketplace and provide greater access to our programming nationwide,” said Mike Biard, president of distribution for Fox Networks Group. “Today’s addition of 14 Fox-affiliated stations, and the others that will be launching soon, together with our portfolio of national and regional cable networks, will allow DirecTV Now to deliver the full experience of our industry-leading news, entertainment and sports brands, while affording consumers the convenience and flexibility to watch whenever and wherever they want.”
“Significantly more customers now have access to local programing on DirecTV Now through Fox affiliates in cities across America,” said Dan York, chief content officer for AT&T. “We are continuing to expand our lineup of local, regional and national programming on DirecTV Now so our customers have access to an impressive lineup at a great value.”
Among the other Tribune-owned stations covered under Fox’s new DirecTV Now deal are Cleveland; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Greensboro, N.C.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Kansas City; Milwaukee; Sacramento; Salt Lake City; and St. Louis.