AT&T was talking tough Friday as a retrans blackout with CBS loomed, including steering subs to the Locast over-the-top TV station streaming service as one option to preserve access to TV station signals if there is an extended outage.
"If CBS pulls its channels tonight," said AT&T, "the vast majority of our TV homes in thousands of different cities will continue to receive their local CBS station the same as before. For customers who do not, CBS shows also remain available in many affected cities through the new Locast app on DirecTV Genie and Uverse internet-connected receivers. We are also able to offer our customers an innovative product called Local Channel Connector that can put local broadcast station signals into the program guides of many DirecTV customers with Genie receivers."
And with an ominous note for sports fans, or for the potential length of a blackout, AT&T added "Both of these options could be helpful for football fans if CBS’ removal carries on into the college and pro seasons."
DirecTV's current impasse with Nexstar was still going on at press time.
Locast is the free, nonprofit, online TV station streaming service that uses a legal carveout for nonprofit retransmissions to avoid having to pay a copyright fee or get permission from broadcasters, though some are apparently glad to get the extra eyeballs.
"We’ve been marching westward, and we couldn’t be more excited that we’ve hit the Pacific,” said David Goodfriend, founder of Locast, on its recent expansion into the L.A and San Francisco markets, both of which would be in play in a CBS impasse.
The coalition had long argued that blackouts and escalating ticket prices and rights fees are sports-consumer unfriendly and needed some kind of redress. That was part of the impetus behind Locast.