CBS, AT&T Reach New Carriage Deal

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CBS

CBS stations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, were impacted by a blackout that affected about 6.6 million viewers.

CBS Corp. and AT&T have reached a new carriage deal for CBS stations and cable networks after they went dark on the telecom giant’s DirecTV and U-Verse services July 20.

The two sector giants initially failed to come to terms on a new carriage agreement by a deadline, but later renewed talks. CBS stations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, were impacted, affecting about 6.6 million viewers.

In addition, CBS Sports Network went dark on DirecTV and DirecTV Now, and Smithsonian Channel was dropped from DirecTV.

On Thursday, the companies said they have reached "a new multi-year content carriage agreement to provide CBS-owned local broadcast stations and national channels CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel to customers of AT&T’s video platforms across the country." Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

“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 had said at the time of the blackout.

AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said on the company’s recent earnings conference call that the difference between the fees CBS was pushing for and what AT&T was willing to pay was "not that wide" though. 

Dish Network, which competes with AT&T's DirecTV satellite TV service, has over the years also been involved in various carriage disputes, most recently with HBO, part of AT&T's WarnerMedia entertainment unit, and Walt Disney's FX and National Geographic networks.