Q. You wrote awhile back that AT&T’s deal to carry the Pac 12 Network would end in September. But the channel is still on U-verse (which AT&T owns). So, is there a new deal? Are the companies still talking? What’s up here? — Anna, Las Vegas.
Anna, you are right. I wrote last month that U-verse, which AT&T owns in addition to owning DIRECTV, could soon lose the Pac 12 Network if it did not sign a new carriage deal with the channel.
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AT&T even issued a notice to U-verse subscribers in August that said the Pac 12 Network’s contract was expiring and that the channel could soon be removed from the U-verse lineup.
However, here we are on September 24, and U-verse is still carrying the Pac 12 Network.
But what’s even more interesting is that AT&T has issued a new notice to subscribers saying that its contract with the Pac 12 Network is set to expire in November. If a new deal is not signed by November, AT&T says in the notice, the Pac 12 Network could be removed during that month.
This is a clear change from AT&T’s previous notice, and it suggests it has signed a temporary extension with the Pac 12 Network, something that’s only done when companies are trying to negotiate a new long-term pact.
So although one publication has written that AT&T had basically decided to walk away from the Pac 12 Network, the timing of this new notice would suggest otherwise.
And since AT&T also negotiates carriage deals for DIRECTV, and DIRECTV Now, any discussions regarding U-verse could still include those two services as well. (Note: AT&T’s U-verse signed its carriage pact with the Pac 12 Network prior to the telco’s merger with DIRECTV. The satcaster has never carried the Pac 12 Network.)
I will continue to watch this story in the coming days, and will report back here when I learn more.
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I hope the parties reach a long term agreement but it is also possible that AT&T simply wants to extend the agreement until the end of the Pac 12 football season so they will have fewer cancellations when they drop the network.