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Scripps, AT&T U-Verse Negotiate, But Channels Remain Off Telco's Air

Scripps Networks Interactive and AT&T U-verse were back at the negotiating table Sunday. Despite the ongoing talks, the programmer's Food Network, HGTV, Cooking, DIY and GAC networks remained off the telco's air as of press time.

The parties hit an impasse on Friday morning.

A Scripps spokeswoman said the programmer has again asked the distributor to carry the video services and not put viewers in the middle of the dispute, while details are worked out over mobile and digital rights.

AT&T, which counts some 2.7 million video customers, could not be immediately reached by press time.

On Friday Nov. 5, Scripps's video services came off of AT&T U-verse lineups, after the programmer said it offered a "third extension" to keep the networks on the air for the balance of year, while negotiations on the other fronts continued.

At that time, SNI president John Lansing said the two sides had agreed on fees for a renewal of the networks, prior to the contract's expiration last month. However, he said the dispute now stems from the amount of Scripps content that AT&T wants for its broadband and other distribution platforms: "AT&T U-verse demanded unreasonably broad video rights for emerging media where business models have not even been established. Accepting their demands would have restrained our ability to deliver our content to our viewers in new and innovative ways."

AT&T said then that SNI "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."

AT&T added that "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."

Read more on Multichannel News here.