CBS, Verizon ink program carriage deal

Agreement comes a week after TWC pact

NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. and Verizon have extended and expanded a program carriage agreement, the second major such deal for CBS in as many weeks.

The pact includes retransmission consent for CBS' TV stations, the CBS network, as well as local and national VOD content for Verizon's FiOS TV video service and Verizon Wireless' V Cast mobile video service.

The new arrangement follows a more limited three-year deal unveiled in 2006 as FiOS TV was in its launch phase.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but sources said CBS Corp. is getting more money in the new deal, including cash for its retrans portion. Both parties in such deals generally stay tight-lipped on financial details, citing confidentiality clauses. The previous deal was believed to pay CBS around 50 cents per subscriber. FiOS TV has seen strong subscriber growth in recent quarters.

The companies would only say that the new deal is a multiyear agreement and adds new components including full TV episodes on VCast. Not covered by the pact is CBS Corp.'s Showtime, which has a separate carriage arrangement with Verizon.

The Verizon arrangement comes a week after CBS Corp. unveiled a broad carriage deal with Time Warner Cable, which some analysts saw as a major step in the company's efforts to get paid for retrans. CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves has said he expects to get as much as $250 million in retrans profits during the next few years.

But some on Wall Street have criticized that these carriage deals are so broad and complex that it is impossible for them to break out which part of the puzzle brings in how much money.

"We are extremely pleased to have reached this broad long-term agreement that recognizes the value of our programming," Moonves said Monday about the Verizon deal, adding that the component of the deal that brings full-length shows to V Cast "enhances our profile on a key emerging platform."

Under the agreement, Verizon secured mobile rights on V Cast for full episodes of such top-rated CBS entertainment and news programs as "60 Minutes," the "CSI" franchise, "Rules of Engagement," "The Price Is Right" and its late-night shows. It also will continue to offer shortform content from CBS Corp.

The telecom giant also got expanded national VOD rights for such hit shows as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "NCIS," "Survivor," and "Numbers," as well as VOD rights for local news. All those VOD rights cover the standard and high-definition TV formats.

CBS also is in carriage talks with Cablevision Systems.
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