CBS Reaches New Verizon FiOS Carriage Deal

CBS CEO Les Moonves
CBS CEO Les Moonves
 Getty Images

CBS and Verizon have reached a three-year carriage deal, allowing CBS channels to continue to be transmitted on Verizon's FiOS TV service.

"This deal was reached in a short period of time, and CBS has once again achieved fair value for our over-the-air rights," Ray Hopkins, CBS' president of television networks distribution said in a statement. "Verizon is a distribution partner of growing importance to us that provides excellent service to its expanding number of subscribers, and we are glad that this partnership will continue and grow."

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Terry Denson, Verizon's vp video content and strategy added in a statement: "We’ve reached this agreement in partnership with CBS for our customers, so that they may continue to enjoy CBS content on FiOS. Verizon continues to address areas of change where necessary in current policies to better reflect the interests of consumers."

This new deal comes amid a nearly three-week-long blackout of CBS-owned stations by Time Warner Cable after those two companies failed to reach an agreement on retransmission consent fees.

CBS has been urging TWC subscribers upset about the blackout to switch cable providers, and Thursday's Verizon deal gives disgruntled customers in affected areas one more option. Verizon FiOS markets include New York, L.A. and Dallas, the same areas that are also served by Time Warner Cable.

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In a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, CBS CEO Les Moonves claims TWC was offered "almost exactly the same deal" to which Verizon agreed. He also says Verizon has more subscribers in New York, L.A. and Dallas than TWC does.

Furthermore, Moonves used today's news to express his frustration over the ongoing blackout.

"I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way these negotiations have gone," he writes in the memo. "Never in my most pessimistic moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long and have been so difficult. In many aspects of the deal, Time Warner Cable is demanding different terms than any other company in the business. I am frankly mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency to resolve this matter for their customers."

He did say negotiations between CBS and TWC would continue, adding, "Today’s announcement makes clear, however, if there was ever any doubt, that we are prepared to move decisively and thoughtfully to achieve a good conclusion for all parties involved in these kinds of negotiations. When Time Warner Cable is ready, we’ll be there."

CBS and Verizon's agreement also provides for wider distribution of CBS Sports Network on FiOS.

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