CBS, AT&T End Three-Week Blackout

CBS and AT&T have reached an agreement to end a nearly three-week-long blackout of 6.5 million subscribers.

AT&T’s DirecTV, U-verse TV and DirecTV Now customers continue to be unable to receive the signals from about 120 Nexstar Media Group stations, though, as that retransmission-consent dispute continues. Advocates for multichannel video programming distributors have used the two high-profile blackouts to argue for retrans changes as part of Congress’s review of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR), the satellite compulsory-license law that comes up for renewal this year.

“CBS and AT&T regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience,” the companies said in a statement about the settlement, which came just as the first preseason NFL games were set to air.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but CBS president and acting CEO Joe Ianniello assured analysts on the company’s earnings call that the company was well on its way to meet its targets for retransmission and reverse compensation from its affiliates.

“We have now successfully completed three very significant carriage deals, one with AT&T, one with Altice and one with Nexstar in the span of less than two weeks,” Ianniello said. “We have many clear proof points that our strategy is working.”

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.