A SHOWDOWN LOOMS

Today is D-D Day for AT&T’s DirecTV outlets and the Sinclair monolith.

D-D meaning “Drop Dead” which is what could well happen to Sinclair’s 136 television stations on the AT&T’s dish.

The two sides either reach a retrans settlement (the details of which will be none of your damned business) by the end of the business day or….

And again we travel down a well-travelled road, as media behemoths like Sinclair seek to extract as much as they can from an ailing business model (local television), while AT&T tries to keep the price to cord-cutting consumers somewhere under the consumers’ breaking point.

It’s becoming more of a loser’s game.

Consumers are quickly, and in increasing numbers, finding alternatives to a monthly bill that keeps going up while the quality of what is being offered keeps spiralling down.

And we see corporate statements like the following, issued without a bit of irony:
“AT&T …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,” according to David Gibber, Sinclair’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Isn’t tremendous market power (136 television stations and a herd of digital outlets) what Sinclair is employing to get its own way with syndicators, networks and, yes, local advertisers?

The AT&T counter-argument says exactly that:
Sinclair controls nearly 200 free, over-the-air local broadcast stations in almost 100 markets, and recently spent $10.6 billion to add 23 regional sports networks (RSNs) carrying the local sporting events in those same communities. Wielding these assets, Sinclair routinely threatens or cuts off access to its combination of local and national network content to accomplish one goal: drive up its fees for content that is offered free over the air and being watched less and less.

Give us a break.

More News from Friday, September 27, 2019