AT&T and Sinclair have a Friday deadline to reach a new deal or Sinclair-owned locals will go dark on DIRECTV, AT&T TV, AT&T TV NOW, and U-verse TV. This blackout would not only included Sinclair owned locals but also The Tennis Channel, TBD, Comet, Charge, and more. Now it looks like talks are not going well as Sinclair updated its website about the possible blackout from not just encouraging viewers to call AT&T, but now actively encouraging subscribers to switch to YouTube TV or Dish.
Here is the statement Sinclair posted on their website yesterday:
AT&T isn’t listening to you. If you are an AT&T customer, it’s time to switch to DISH, your local cable provider, or YouTubeTV.
This effort to use services like YouTube TV against AT&T before a blackout even happens marks a major change in these talks. AT&T has in the past used services like Locast as an option to watch locals that are blacked out on AT&T. Now Sinclair is using YouTube TV as an option to get its locals without AT&T.
“AT&T is the largest MVPD in the country and seems intent on using its tremendous market power to dictate to viewers which programming from other content providers they can receive, even as they continue to acquire content providers and push their own content to viewers,” stated David Gibber, Sinclair’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Despite the tremendous market power of AT&T, most consumers of AT&T and DirecTV do have some other alternatives to receive our in-demand programming. Although it would be unfortunate to lose AT&T and DirecTV as customers, we are simply not prepared to sell our programming to them at the below market rates they are demanding due to their overwhelming market power.”
“Sinclair employs more than 9,000 people in local markets throughout the country,” Gibber continued, “and our news and investigative teams produce 2,500 hours of local news each week in more than 80 markets across the country. Our reporting teams have been honored numerous times with industry awards for excellence. We are proud of the work our employees do each day in service of our communities, and we will continue to be there for our local communities. Sinclair also spends more than a billion dollars annually to provide network and other content to our local viewers. We continue to act in good faith and hope that AT&T will agree to fair terms soon, for the benefit of all, most importantly our viewers.”
With just about 24 hours to go until the possible blackout of Sinclair owned locals, it seems that Sinclair is not holding back. The question now is will a last-second deal be reached to save the channels on AT&T? Just a few weeks ago AT&T and Disney had a similar possible blackout only to have it avoided at the last minute after several short extensions.
No exact time on Friday for the blackout has been announced. Cord Cutters News will post updates as we learn more.
How important are locals to you? Will you switch services if Sinclair owned locals go dark?
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