CBS Affiliate Board Approves New Virtual MVPD Deal With Paramount, Potentially Ending Impasse With FuboTV

CBS Television City in Hollywood
(Image credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

The CBS affiliate board has endorsed a new carriage proposal from Paramount Global that will keep affiliated stations’ feeds on Paramount Plus, Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV and return them to FuboTV.

Affiliates were informed of the new agreement in principle Friday morning, according to a station executive. The proposed deal could head off a period in which relations between networks and affiliates could have turned stormy.

The affiliate board had called the previous deal offered by Paramount inadequate and nearly all large owners of CBS affiliates rejected it. Fubo has been running a national feed of CBS programming provided by Paramount.

Adding to the friction over streaming carriage of stsations by virtual multichannel video distributors (vMVPDs), Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC stations are currently not being carried by Hulu Plus Live TV because Sinclair does not like the terms agreed to by ABC, which like Hulu is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

Station owners will have to decide whether or not to opt into the new agreement with Paramount and the virtual multichannel video programming distributors. Because most of the biggest station owners are represented on the board, they are likely to opt in, a source said.

Also Read: CBS-FuboTV Flap Adds to Strains With Affiliates, Analyst Says

The new agreement runs for three years and covers sports fees and inventory units in addition to carriage of affiliates’ signals on the four vMVPDs. 

Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV and FuboTV ended last year with about 8.2 million subscribers, a still-growing portion of the overall 70.1 million pay-TV customers, according to Leichtman Research Group. LRG didn't count YouTube TV (which claimed to top 5 million subscribers last July) and DirecTV Stream because their companies don't break out their numbers. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.