AT&T U-verse drops Scripps channels in dispute

American telecom AT&T dropped Scripps Networks Interactive channels from its U-verse TV service Friday morning.
November 5, 2010

American telecom AT&T dropped Scripps Networks Interactive channels from its U-verse TV service Friday morning. Previously, the two sides had negotiated contract extensions to keep the Scripps channels (HGTV, DIY, The Food Network, The Cooking Channel and Great American Country) on the TV service, which has 2.7 million subscribers. For its part, Scripps says AT&T refused an offer on Friday morning that would have extended the existing contract to the end of the year in order to resolve outstanding business issues. ‘Let me start by saying this impasse is not about money,’ said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks, in a statement. ‘We reached an agreement in principle with AT&T U-verse on the distribution fees we would receive for these networks well in advance of last month’s contract deadline.’ Scripps maintains that AT&T is demanding, in Lansing’s words, ‘unreasonably broad video rights for emerging media where business models have not even been established.’
Meanwhile, AT&T is saying via a statement that Scripps is ‘demanding that AT&T pay double what other competitors pay – including smaller-sized affiliates – and has yet to provide a proposal that gives AT&T a choice in the channels we carry and pay for, despite repeated requests.’ Also, in terms of carrying content on other platforms, ‘Scripps Networks also wants this premium price for inferior access to their content for our customers on other platforms, even though other competitors get this at much lower prices.’

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.