The highlight of DirecTV’s 4Q earnings conference call Thurs came when the issue of RSN costs came up. For seemingly the 200th time, CEO Mike White slammed rising sports rights fees: “The sports business model is broken.” If DirecTV was to carry sports programming in the few markets that are “completely out of control” and “unaffordable for the average consumer,” the only solution is through some kind of surcharge, White said. The company started charging new subs in markets like LA and NY a $3 monthly surcharge last year to justify sports costs. Beginning this spring, the company will charge existing subs in those markets, he said. More on DirecTV’s strategy, programming costs and TVE.
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