×
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

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

  • Cesar Sayoc Headshot

    Florida Man Pleads Guilty in CNN Pipe Bomb Case

    A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump. Cesar Sayoc appeared in federal court in New York, where he pleaded to 65 counts stemming from the mailing of 16 devices. He faces life in prison, plus 120 months, at his sentencing on Sept. 12. [...]

  • Tencent Profits Hit $1 Billion Per

    Tencent Profits Hit $1 Billion per Month as Company Loses Fizz

    Growing regulatory encroachments into its games business, a smaller than expected spin-off for its music division, and a fourth quarter profits drop, pointed to a troubling year for Chinese tech giant Tencent. Its financial results for the full 2018 period, while delivering profits of nearly $1 billion a month, appeared to bear out that thesis. [...]

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    WGA Leaders to Meet With Showrunners on Agency Packaging Fight (EXCLUSIVE)

    WGA leaders are set to meet Wednesday night with a group of showrunners who are raising concerns about the guild’s handling of negotiations with talent agents over the issue of packaging fees and agency-affiliated productions. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at WGA West headquarters. WGA West president David Goodman is expected to attend. [...]

  • Bill Murray St Vincent 2014

    Weinstein Co. Sued Over Trademark Infringement in Bill Murray Film

    A horse-racing announcer has sued the Weinstein Co., claiming that the company infringed on his trademarked phrase in a 2014 Bill Murray movie. Dave Johnson is the man behind “And down the stretch they come!,” which he began using while calling races in Illinois in the 1960s. The phrase took off when Johnson moved to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content