OK, cards on the table. The folks at DIRECTV know that one of the big criticisms of their service is that it’s expensive. I think you get a huge value for your money, but I do understand where people are coming from. Unfortunately most of the money DIRECTV collects goes straight to content providers. It’s true with pretty much every pay-TV company. The individual channel owners charge for carriage and most of the money collected goes to them, not to the pay-TV company.
This means that there are two ways to keep bills low for everyone. DIRECTV could negotiate hard with each content provider. They do this to some degree but if they push harder they risk channel blackouts. In a case like that nobody wins. The only other option is to get creative in the way that these companies get paid.
Here’s what they’ve done
There are, broadly speaking, two types of channel carriage contracts. Some contracts are simple. The content provider gets paid a fixed amount whether or not someone subscribes to their channels. This sort of contract is generally found for the “basic” channels that everyone gets anyway. The other type is a little more complicated. In this case, the content provider gets a small amount of money for everyone who actually subscribes to it. Channels with this sort of contract tend to be in the higher tiers because that way DIRECTV can charge extra for them to make up the extra cost.
Knowing this, DIRECTV has started doing something to keep costs down. They’ve started turning off certain channels for people who don’t actually watch them.
Say what now?
It should come as no surprise that DIRECTV and other pay TV companies collect information on what you’re watching. You can opt out, but most people don’t. It’s largely harmless.
So, armed with this information, DIRECTV started a pilot program. Starting with channels from A&E Networks (History, A&E, Vice, and Lifetime), they started turning off these channels for people who weren’t watching them. They probably told you about it in your bill, and you didn’t realize it. There’s a good chance that if you are missing these channels in your guide, they’ve been gone for months. Why? Because they’re right, you weren’t watching them.
I can hear you thinking, “I pay for these channels, what does it matter if I don’t watch them?” You would be 100% right there. You do have the right to get the channels you pay for. And you can get them all back, very easily. Here’s what you do.
- Go to directv.com/channel-opt-in. You may need to log into your DIRECTV account.
- Let them know you want these channels by checking the correct box.
Really that’s all there is to it. The channels should return quickly. If they don’t, refresh your receivers using the procedure in this article. That should take care of everything.
I get it, this doesn’t seem terribly fair and you shouldn’t have to go through these extra steps. But then again, there are probably going to be a couple of million people who never watch these channels and since DIRECTV isn’t having to pay for all of them, you end up saving money. In the end, it’s a win for everyone.