AT&T, Scripps Networks Sign Distribution Pact

Scripps Networks Interactive is the latest programmer to sign a carriage deal with AT&T, agreeing to a long-term multi-platform pact that pushes the total number of channels available to its upcoming over-the-top offering DirecTV Now closer to its stated 100-plus goal.

The Scripps deal includes carriage of its lifestyle networks like Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, DIY and Great American Country on U-Verse TV and DirecTV as well as streaming services DirecTV Now and DirecTV Freeview.

AT&T began signing carriage deals for DirecTV Now in August with HBO and Cinemax. In September it reached agreements with Discovery Communications, Disney, Turner, and NBC Universal.  At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference yesterday, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan said all of its networks will be part of the DirecTV Now package. In a Securities & Exchange Commission filing Thursday, Starz said it reached a multiplatform deal with AT&T, including DirecTV Now, on Sept. 17.

AT&T CEO Randall Stepenson said at the Communacoipia confewrence yesterday that DirecTV Now was about "90% there" in terms of carriage agreements for the service.

In a statement, Scripps Networks said its AT&T deal is line with its strategy to make its content available to consumers at any time on any device.    

“We value our ongoing and expanding relationship with AT&T and DirecTV, and look forward to working together to expand consumer choice and convenience,” said SNI president, content distribution and marketing Henry Ahn in a statement.

DirecTV Now is slated for a fourth quarter launch and is expected to offer more than 100 channels of live and on demand programming. The offering is a continuation of AT&T's mobility strategy and has been called a "game changer" by top executives.

“Through this new, expansive agreement our customers will be able to enjoy the entire family of Scripps Networks content virtually anytime, anywhere across all AT&T platforms.” said AT&T chief content officer Dan York in a statement. “Scripps Networks’ content will deliver more value as an important part of AT&T’s new DirecTV Now and DirecTV Freeview streaming services.”