×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AT&T Sets Broad Carriage Renewal Pact With Fox Networks Group

AT&T and Fox Networks Group have quietly concluded a broad renewal agreement for most of Fox Networks Group’s channels on the DirecTV and U-verse platforms.

The deal came together days before the end of DirecTV’s previous pact with Fox. It also was handled with no saber-rattling or public bickering over terms, a notable achievement at a time of heightened competition and business headwinds between large programmers and distributors. DirecTV is facing a number of big renegotiations with major content providers in the coming year, including Viacom. It’s understood that the AT&T-Fox talks were long, arduous and tense at times but were never in danger of boiling over in public.

Fox is awaiting its takeover by Disney early next year. The multi-year deal covers a mix of 21st Century Fox assets that will be sold to Disney — including FX Networks and National Geographic — and those that will stay behind with the Murdochs’ new spin on Fox, including Fox Sports 1 and 2 and the 28 O&O stations reaching 17 major markets. AT&T gets live, on demand and streaming rights for DirecTV, the DirecTV Now OTT service and the dwindling U-verse telco service. AT&T has been de-emphasizing U-verse since it acquired DirecTV in 2015.

Fox News is the not covered in the new deal. AT&T already has a long-term deal with cable news powerhouse which in the past had negotiated most carriage deals separately from its Fox sibling cablers.

“We are pleased to have closed a multi-year deal with Fox for their entire array of content. Our customers will continue to enjoy their programming live and on-demand on all their devices, both at home and on-the-go,” said Daniel York, chief content officer and senior exec VP for AT&T Communications. “Fox has worked with us in this deal to deliver more choice for consumers and better value to AT&T customers.”

AT&T may hope to send a message to other programmers by navigating a no-fireworks negotiation with Fox Networks Group. Fox has not been shy about going into PR battles with other MVPDs, including Comcast and Altice, in recent months.

At the same time, DirecTV’s behavior with rival programmers is under scrutiny as it absorbs Time Warner after the hard-fought merger battle in Washington, and a pending appeal by the government. AT&T is also under pressure from investors to deliver growth to justify its $85.4 billion Time Warner acquisition, which was completed in June. All of this comes at a time when DirecTV’s subscriber base is slowly but steadily shrinking. The satcaster has about 25 million video subscribers in the U.S. and Latin America; it shed 359,000 video subs in the third quarter, the company reported in October.

“We’re pleased to expand our partnership with AT&T through this wide-ranging agreement which ensures that our top-rated entertainment and sports programming will remain broadly available to DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse customers for the foreseeable future,” said Mike Biard, Fox Network Group president of distribution.

More Biz

  • Times Up Hollywood

    Time's Up Entertainment Announces New Industry Mentoring Initiative

    Time’s Up Entertainment, an affiliate of the Time’s Up coalition of women across industries working to improve workplace safety, has announced the “Who’s in the Room” industry mentoring initiative. The program’s goal is to increase the presence of people of color from diverse backgrounds in the entertainment industry’s executive ranks. Funded by a $500,000 grant from [...]

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Davan Maharaj Mel Gibson

    L.A. Times Publisher's Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

    The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson. Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the [...]

  • 'Blurred Lines' Suit Ends With $5

    'Blurred Lines' Suit Ends With $5 Million Judgement Against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams

    After five years, the legal battle over the copyright of the Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” has ended, with Marvin Gaye’s family being awarded a final judgment of nearly $5 million against the song’s primary writers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, according to CNN and other reports. The pair were accused of copyright infringement [...]

  • WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to

    WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to President of Talent Agency

    WME veteran Ari Greenburg, one of the original Endeavor staffers who helped build the talent agency that became an industry powerhouse, has been promoted to president. Greenburg will oversee all daily operations across WME and its offices in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, London and Sydney. The promotion recognizes the role that Greenburg has played [...]

  • Alison Wenham Steps Down as CEO

    Alison Wenham Steps Down as CEO of WIN

    After 12 years at the helm of the Worldwide Independent Network, a global trade organization for the independent music industry, Alison Wenham is stepping down as Chief Executive, it was announced today. Prior to joining WIN full time in 2016 Alison was CEO of The Association of Independent Music (AIM), which she started in 1999. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content