Yesterday Raycom Media started telling viewers of its 40 over-the-air TV stations that DIRECTV may soon cut off their access. The current carriage agreement between Raycom Media and DIRECTV will expire on August 31, 2017.
Now Raycom has started to tell viewers that they should be ready for DIRECTV to drop their stations.
“Unfortunately, there’s a danger DirecTV system is about to drop us and break that critical link to our viewers,” Mark Bunting, VP and general manager of WSFA Montgomery, Alabama, said in an editorial (although technically it’s up to broadcasters whether or not to stay live on pay-TV platforms before reaching a renewal agreement). “We are currently working hard to make sure DirecTV customers continue to have access to WSFA without interruption. There is a chance they will not agree to a fair deal, and decide to drop this station from their system.”
Rumors are flying that part of the holdup could be streaming rights on DIRECTV NOW as well as payment for DIRECTV.
Raycom Media is one of the few over-the-air TV owners that does not have a streaming deal with DIRECTV NOW. It looks like AT&T may be using its negotiations with Raycom Media in order to carry stations on both DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW.
This is a tactic that Dish used to get networks such as the NFL Network added to Sling TV. If AT&T is successful in adding some or all of the 40 Raycom-owned over-the-air stations it would be a major victory for DIRECTV NOW in its race with Hulu and PlayStation Vue for the most locals.
The tough part is that even if this deal is reached we likely won’t know for a few weeks or months until DIRECTV NOW is ready to add the stations.
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