Unable to reach a carriage deal, AT&T U-verse dropped Raycom Media stations from its platform late Wednesday night, according to Raycom.
In a statement, Raycom said this is the fifth time AT&T U-verse and Raycom have come to such an impasse since the pay-TV provider merged with DirecTV. Subscribers in 23 markets are affected.
“We never want our communities to experience a disruption,” said Raycom president and CEO Pat LaPlatney. “These retransmission consent agreements are important free-market negotiations that sustain broadcast localism.”
In the last three years, Raycom has successfully negotiated retransmission consent agreements with 99.5% of its operators without a disruption to viewers.
“We want to get our U-verse customers’ usual local stations back into their lineups as soon as possible. Doing so requires permission from each station’s owner, including Raycom Media, since FCC rules grant Raycom exclusive control over whether its stations remain available on U-verse," said AT&T in a statement. "We share our customers’ frustration because Raycom is deliberately preventing its stations from reaching their homes until Raycom receives a significant increase in fees even though the same people can still watch its shows for free over-the-air and, typically, online at each network’s website or using those network’s apps. The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball championship tournament remains available on TBS, TNT and truTV and every game is also streaming live at NCAA March Madness Live or for fans using the NCAA March Madness Live app. We have asked Raycom repeatedly to allow our customers to watch while we work this business matter out privately, but Raycom continues to refuse. Raycom has suspended its stations from AT&T and other providers’ customers before and also threatened to disconnect others. Station-induced blackouts are on a record pace in 2017 totaling more than 125 blackouts in 81 cities, and costing nearly 18 million families at least some temporary disruption. We can have Raycom’s stations back into our customers’ lineups within moments of Raycom simply granting its permission. We’d like to resolve this matter quickly and reasonably, and we appreciate our U-verse customers’ patience while we attempt just that.”