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Pac-12 Network And DirecTV: Patience Might Be Needed For Deal

The Pac-12 Network might be waiting awhile before DirecTV comes to the table and makes a deal. The satellite company seems willing to play hardball.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Pac-12 Network is probably going to have to wait awhile before DirecTV seems willing to come to the table. As has been speculated, it seems like the conference and the satellite carrier have fairly divergent views that keep either of them from making a deal.

What the Pac-12 Network desires is what they're getting from everyone else: On TV they want national network distribution, with regional carriers in local markets. Online and on mobile they want the channels to be streamed live when people are on the go, and have the best video content also available that way. That was what Bright House, Time Warner, Cox and Comcast signed up for in the original agreement, and what Dish appears to be guaranteeing in the near future.

What DirecTV wants is something entirely different. Instead of subscriber fees they don't appear willing to impose on their customers, they instead want to try something extremely radical: A pay-per-view approach which would require fans to dip into their own wallets and pay for the network themselves. That's clearly an approach that helps out DirecTV but doesn't really do anything for the Pac-12 Network, since it's highly likely few will every pay an HBO-type price to watch games.

It appears DirecTV has been taking an entirely new approach to how they distribute sports. Since it seems the new cable network for the Lakers is also getting the stonewall treatment from DirecTV, it might be a good idea to look at their carriage battle and see how it unfolds over the next month to get an idea of their overall approach.

For what it's worth, it seems DirecTV might be taking a similar approach.

DirecTV spokesman Bob Mercer says his company and TWC, as the two largest TV providers in L.A., "share a responsibility to ensure that both sports fans and non-sports fans alike avoid any extraordinary increases to their families' monthly bills. We plan to carry TWC SportsNet in a way that is affordable for everyone."

The emphasis here appears to regard cost, not distribution. That could very well be the deciding factor. Considering that the Pac-12 is asking for a much smaller subscription price, I'd imagine the Laker cable channel could be facing significant opposition.

So will DirecTV bend and break? The way they're retorting to the Pac-12 isn't encouraging. It'll probably need more evidence that the network is worth keeping, which at this point they still have yet to figure out. I'm not sure about the overriding philosophies of DirecTV and their strategy regarding the Pac-12, but in the end it wouldn't surprise me if cost is the biggest factor.

If that's the case, Pac-12 customers will be better off looking elsewhere. Check to see if there's a provider available in your area.