According to a letter obtained by RBR-TVBR, new African-American broadcast network Bounce TV has gained a place on a number of MVPD systems, but has yet to find a home on AT&T U-Verse MVPD outlets. Bounce, which exists on digital multicast side-channels on stations owned by a number of established television groups, is trying to change that.
The letter came from Bounce co-founder Martin Luther King III, and went to AT&T Chairman/CEO Randall L. Stephenson and various other execs.
King said his network found out from one of its broadcast partners, Raycom Media, that carriage of Bounce was being turned down by AT&T.
Although a digital broadcast television station can enforce must-carry provisions for its primary program stream, the same right does not exist for multicast streams. A move to create a multicast must-carry mandate fizzled prior to the digital transition, partly because of MVPD opposition, but also because at the time most television broadcasters had not yet figured out how to program and/or monetize side channels.
Bounce TV and other services have solved the programming and monetizing portion of the equation. It is now asking that AT&T find a home for it as a service to African American viewers in its services areas, pointing out that in many cases they are a segment of the population underserved by programming directed specifically at their tastes and interests.
Respectfully suggesting that carriage of Bounce deserves “more careful consideration,” King said, “Finding an appropriate arrangement for carrying Bounce TV would send a powerful signal to your customers, employees and communities that AT&T respects the interests of its African American stakeholders. To do so would be in keeping with the company’s long tradition of promoting diversity and opportunity in our country. We are prepared to help you spread that message in every way that we can.”
He closed by asking for a meeting at the earliest opportunity.