AT&T and Rainbow Media have settled their differences. In news that borders on a "boy who cried wolf" situation, the two entities settled their acrimonious dispute amicably and AMC (including Mad Men), WEtv and IFC will continue to be available to U-Verse viewers.
Rainbow had threatened to pull the channels--and AT&T threatened to let them--if an agreement wasn't reached.
While the closest thing to a retransmission broadcast blackout has been the 15 minutes or so that Cablevision lost the Oscars this year (or DirecTV's fight with Comcast over Versus), the threat of losing valuable TV programming has led politicos to jump into the matter. The New York City Council, in fact, might send a message to the FCC asking it to step in and prevent further such disputes using language that both broadcasters and neutral parties feel favors service providers over broadcasters.
That slant, of course, has drawn fire from broadcasters who point out that cable operators "already charge their subscribers a monthly fee for access to their local broadcast stations" and "have simply pocketed that fee as pure profit, paying nothing to local broadcasters."
The broadcasters also pointed out in a letter to the council that service disruptions--as stated previously--are rare.
Elsewhere in the u-niverse, AT&T has at last adopted pair bonding to extend the reach of U-Verse another 1,000 to 2,000 feet from neighborhood nodes. This, the company says, will boost the subscriber base from 24 million to 30 million accessible homes by the end of 2011.
Is AT&T-Rainbow dispute a preview of potential Comcast-NBCU problems?
U-verse could lose 'Mad Men,' 'Bridezillas,' if distribution deal with Rainbow dies