What you need to know
- AT&T and Hearst Television have yet to strike a new carriage deal.
- Local channels are gone from AT&T TV Now in 26 markets, including big markets.
- NFL Playoff games this weekend will be missing unless they make an agreement.
This weekend, many of the best teams in football will face off in the first round of the NFL playoffs. However some fans will find themselves stuck in the middle of a fight over money, and they will be unable to watch these games.
AT&T and Hearst Television have been unable to come to a new deal over retransmission fees. Depending on where they live, AT&T customers could find themselves without their most wanted content this weekend.
Local channels in 26 markets, including affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, and the CW are now off AT&T Now. These Hearst Television affiliates are also gone from AT&T's other TV services, including AT&T TV, DirecTV, and U-verse TV.
The blame game has already begun and that isn't surprising because it is all part of the negotiation strategies in these situations. Both sides can gain leverage in the process of making a new deal by getting angry consumers to blame one side of the other.
For its part, AT&T has gone on the offensive with a press release blaming Hearst for denying fans the chance to see football playoff games. "It's unfortunate that Hearst has chosen to punish consumers and pull its stations during the most exciting time of the football season," said Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications, in a press release. "Unlike Hearst, AT&T will continue to fight for consumers, and we can only hope Hearst will do what's right".
That's one side of the story, but we have to remember to look at the whole picture. Hearst may not be saying anything publicly, but we have no idea how much or little AT&T offered for these retransmission rights. We have seen these types of fee-fights over and over again with different channels and companies involved. Both sides usually carry at least some of the blame, and that can include AT&T.
Are you an AT&T TV Now customer affected by this standoff? You don't need to miss out on your favorite programs, including this weekend's football games. An over-the-air antenna can provide you with easy access to these local stations. With no contracts, you are free to try out another streaming service and even drop AT&T TV Now if you find one you like better.
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