SBD/September 12, 2013/Media

Still No Deal For Pac-12 Networks, DirecTV; Sides Speak Only Occasionally

Murphy-Stephans said the net's distribution is a success, despite lacking DirecTV
Pac-12 Networks and DirecTV still have not been able to "strike a deal and end the simmering frustration" of service subscribers, but the "sides do speak," according to Bud Withers of the SEATTLE TIMES. A Pac-12 source said that the two sides "last sat down face-to-face" in L.A. during the conference's football media day in July. There are "periodic phone conversations," but publicly, the "relationship is mostly one of chilly exchanges." Interviews with "key figures on each side and industry analysts paint a picture of a carrier taking a stand on rising consumer costs and a league that can’t understand why its proposal was acceptable to some 50 providers -- the latest agreement with AT&T and its U-Verse customers -- but not to DirecTV." Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans: "We're very comfortable with our pricing and how we've packaged everything." But DirecTV Exec VP/Programming & Chief Content Officer Dan York said, "It turns out the price-value proposition is even lower than we've offered. Most of the games fans really want to see will still be available on DirecTV." Withers notes "neither side knows how many DirecTV subscribers have switched carriers, but York calls the number 'de minimis.'” That is "defined as 'so minor as to merit disregard.'” Asked if Pac-12 Networks can be called a success in distribution without DirecTV, Murphy-Stephans said, “Unequivocally. Absolutely. We’re entering year two. If we’re entering year seven without DirecTV, I may have a different answer. Entering year two, we’re a smashing success" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/12).

CUTTING THEIR LOSSES: Time Warner Cable President & COO Rob Marcus yesterday said that TWC "lost customers as a result of the recent monthlong blackout of CBS" in major markets. Marcus said that the blackout "suppressed sign-ups of new customers and 'increased disconnects of existing customers.'" The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Shalini Ramachandran notes Marcus "declined to provide a specific figure on the customer losses." However, CBS President & CEO Les Moonves said the blackout "didn't hurt us one iota financially" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/12).
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