TV Answer Man, I miss Bloomberg TV on my DIRECTV. It has the best business news in the world, in my opinion. When do you think it will come back? — Maddie, New Rochelle, New York.
Maddie, as you know, DIRECTV lost Bloomberg TV last Thursday night after its agreement to carry the business channel expired. The satcaster said the dispute, which also affects DIRECTV Stream and U-verse, came after several attempts to reach a new deal fell short.
“While we regret this inconvenience to viewers of Bloomberg TV, please be aware that we offer several other financial news outlets featuring up-to-the-minute information and diverse perspectives on our DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse lineups. Keep beaming and streaming, and we’ll continue striving to deliver you the best in entertainment and news,” DIRECTV said in a statement.
Bloomberg countered that it negotiated in “good faith” with DIRECTV and remains open to renewing talks.
“DIRECTV;s decision to remove Bloomberg TV at the end of our current agreement on September 30 is disappointing, given our active negotiations and good faith engagement throughout the process. “Bloomberg has hundreds of loyal affiliates in the U.S. who value our content, and we’re available anytime to restart the discussion toward reaching a fair new carriage deal and continuing to serve Bloomberg TV viewers.”
So when will this fee fight end, you ask?
DIRECTV is now under new management which includes the private equity firm, TPG, which purchased a 30 percent stake in the satellite service, DIRECTV Stream, and U-verse, earlier this year. I suspect that TPG’s mission is to cut costs when possible to offset reduced revenues caused by shrinking subscriptions. (DIRECTV has lost between six and seven million subscribers over the last six years or so.)
While Bloomberg is popular with some, it’s still a niche channel, and as DIRECTV pointed out, there are other financial news networks (including CNBC) available on all three TV services. It would not surprise me if DIRECTV’s new management team has concluded it can do without Bloomberg.
It also would not surprise me if DIRECTV loses a few more channels in the coming months as part of a cost-savings initiative. For the company to survive with declining sub numbers, it will need to tighten its programming lineup, therefore cutting program acquisition costs.
I may be wrong. Perhaps DIRECTV will soon renew talks and find common ground with Bloomberg. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Maddie, I wish I could be more positive, but you might want to check out Bloomberg TV on the online service, Pluto TV. It’s free.
Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann