AT&T and Rainbow faced midnight showdown


As the clock ticked down to midnight Wednesday (July 14) both AT&T U-Verse and Cablevision’s Rainbow issued dueling statements on their deadlocked negotiations. Meanwhile, U-Verse customers were wondering whether they would still have AMC, We tv and IFC on Thursday.

“Our executives have been at AT&T U-Verse offices for several weeks, doing everything possible to reach an agreement that will keep AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ and other programming from AMC, WE tv and IFC available to their customers. We have been good partners and have been supportive of AT&T since they launched their U-Verse service. We are proud of the programming that we produce at our networks, which has created great value for AT&T. We have agreements with every other television provider in the country and have never had our networks dropped in more than 25 years. We are disappointed that AT&T is publicly threatening to take away our networks, including AMC’s ‘Mad Men,’ just days before the season premiere,” said a statement from Rainbow.

As you’ve probably guessed, AT&T says Rainbow is to blame.

“We are making every effort to reach a fair agreement and continue providing these channels to our customers. It’s unfortunate that Rainbow Media, owned by Cablevision, is clearly not negotiating in good faith, is trying to charge significantly more than the average of what our TV competitors pay for these channels, and is acting in a way that harms competition and limits consumer choice. We’ve made numerous proposals to reach a fair resolution before our current contract with Cablevision’s Rainbow Media expires at midnight on July 14. However, Cablevision’s Rainbow Media has rejected each of them, instead making unreasonable proposals that give it an unfair competitive advantage. We don’t want customers to lose their programming. We’re fighting for a fair deal because our customers deserve the programming they want, at a fair price. We want to reach an agreement that is fair to our subscribers and for all parties,” AT&T said in a statement Wednesday.

As has become standard operating procedure in such programming standoffs, each side has a website pitching their side of the story to consumers.

AT&T’s site is

And Rainbow’s site is

RBR-TVBR observation: As we’ve seen in the past, such disputes typically result in a last-minute settlement or a brief interruption of delivery of the channels. What we’ve also seen is that disputes over national cable networks are just as likely to reach this stage as disputes over local broadcast channel retransmission consent, which indicates that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the current retrans law that needs to be changed.