CBS Goes Dark On DirecTV, DirecTV Now

Unable to reach on agreement with CBS on programming fees, AT&T early Saturday morning dropped CBS's broadcast and cable programming from its TV distribution services -- DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse, according to CBS. “While CBS has made every effort to avoid this blackout, we won’t agree to terms that undervalue our hit programming enjoyed by nearly 240 million viewers across all dayparts last season," the network said.

CBS and AT&T failed to come to terms on new retransmission consent and programming fee agreements, causing AT&T’s DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-Verse to drop CBS O&Os in 17 markets.

The blackouts, effective 2 a.m. Saturday morning, also affects CBS affiliates on the DirecTV Now OTT streaming service.

CBS said that “millions” of homes have lost access to CBS programming.

The outages were the latest in a series involving satellite operators. At the beginning of July, DirecTV dropped all Nexstar stations after reaching an impasse with what will be one of the nation’s largest station groups once it closes on its pending merger with Tribune.

And just last week, 16 Meredith stations went dark on Dish after their retrans talks stalled.

“After months of negotiations, CBS is simply looking to receive fair value for its popular programming and is proposing economic terms similar to those that AT&T’s competitors have accepted in hundreds of our recent distribution agreements,” CBS said in a press release on Saturday.

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“The DirecTV deal expiring tonight was signed in 2012 and is nowhere close to today’s fair market terms for CBS content – to which AT&T’s competitors have repeatedly agreed.

“While CBS has made every effort to avoid this blackout, we won’t agree to terms that undervalue our hit programming enjoyed by nearly 240 million viewers across all dayparts last season on ‘America’s Most-Watched Network.’

“Those loyal viewers are now bearing the burden for AT&T’s unwillingness to negotiate a deal that reflects the current marketplace.”

CBS’s cable services have also been swept up in the dispute. CBS Sports Network has been dropped nationally from DirecTV and DirecTV Now, and Smithsonian Channel has been similarly removed from DirecTV, CBS said.

No word yet from AT&T.


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