CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T’s DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

Variety | 7/19/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract.

The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS Sports cable channel and Smithsonian Channel.

CBS - AT - T - Executives - Wire

CBS and AT&T executives negotiated down to the wire Friday night as the 11 p.m. PT contract expiration deadline approached. AT&T said in a lengthy statement it offered to continue negotiating to avoid a service disruption but CBS declined.

“CBS is a repeat blackout offender and has removed these same stations from DISH Network and Charter Spectrum customers in the past and threatened to remove them from others to ensure much higher fees,” AT&T said in a statement. “CBS continues to demand unprecedented increases even as CBS advances content on CBS All Access instead of on its local broadcast stations. CBS has said publicly that it priced All Access much higher to capitalize on customers it can capture from cable, satellite or other means of distribution.”

CBS - AT - T - Contract - Extension

CBS said it already granted AT&T one short-term contract extension after months of negotiations. While AT&T accuses CBS of seeking exorbitant price hikes for its stations, CBS counters that it is asking for the same terms that the Eye has in retrans pacts with other sizable MVPDs. DirecTV and U-verse together reach about 22.4 million subscribers.

“CBS is simply looking to receive fair value for its popular programming and is proposing economic terms...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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