AT&T and Raycom end 23-market U-verse blackout

AT&T and Raycom's rhetorical battle included an accusation that AT&T was using blackouts to drive users to its preferred pay-TV platform, DirecTV.

AT&T and Raycom Media have come to terms of on a new retrans deal, restoring network affiliates in 23 markets on the AT&T U-verse platform. 

The blackout started back on March 15.

“We apologize to our viewers for this inconvenience, and appreciate their patience during the impasse,” Raycom said in a statement. 

RELATED: Raycom: AT&T pushing U-verse blackouts to drive customers to DirecTV

The impasse’s rhetorical battle included an accusation from Raycom that AT&T was using blackouts to drive users to its preferred pay-TV platform, DirecTV.

“AT&T U-Verse, now combined with DirecTV, appears to be using programming disruptions as an opportunity to switch AT&T U-Verse customers to its DirecTV service,” Raycom said in a statement. “When disgruntled AT&T U-Verse subscribers call to lodge a complaint, they are offered a subscription with DirecTV, the very same company as AT&T. In some instances, subscribers are also pushed to DirecTV Now, a service that in many markets does not carry any local broadcast affiliates.

AT&T responded with this statement: “Raycom Media determines whether or not its stations remain in our U-verse customers’ lineups. We have asked Raycom numerous times to leave their stations up, and once they took them down, to put them back up. We have offered to compensate Raycom—even when out of contract—for events like the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament where a program of key interest is at risk. Our challenge to Raycom stands—put your local stations back on and we will compensate you while we work privately to settle this issue. It’s also important for our customers to know that—other than Raycom—we have no other blackouts across the 21 states U-verse serves.”

The broadcaster said it’s the fifth Raycom blackout on U-verse since AT&T closed on its DirecTV purchase in August 2015. Raycom said there had been no U-verse interruptions prior to AT&T’s merger with the satellite TV company.