CBS Warns of Possible DirecTV Blackout

AT&T may be on the road to a third broadcaster blackout in the next few days, after CBS said in a statement that while it is working hard to reach a retransmission consent agreement with AT&T Uverse, DirecTV and DirecTV Now, the carrier “continues to propose unfair terms.”

CBS series 'Blue Bloods'

CBS series 'Blue Bloods'

AT&T’s deal with CBS expires at 11 p.m. (Pacific Time) on July 19 and would affect its owned and operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Three of those markets -- Atlanta, Seattle and Johnstown-Altoona, Pennsylvania are CW affiliates). Already the carrier is weathering blackouts with Nexstar Media Group and a group of about 17 stations in 14 markets. AT&T also sued Max Retrans, a consultant for several TV stations in retransmission negotiations, earlier this month for breaching non-disclosure agreements. 

CBS said it is “negotiating resolutely and in good faith with DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT&T U-verse TV to reach a fair market value agreement for its programming,” and that it has reached hundreds of similar deals with cable, satellite and telco distributors. “AT&T, however, continues to propose unfair terms well below those agreed to by its competitors and may drop CBS unless we agree to those terms.”

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In a statement, AT&T said it was disappointed that CBS has decided to negotiate in public

“We’re disappointed to see CBS put our customers into the middle of negotiations,” AT&T said in a statement. “AT&T is on the side of customer choice and value and wants to keep the local CBS stations in 14 affected cities in our customers’ lineups. Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers want at a value that also makes sense to them. We continue to fight hard for that here and appreciate our customers’ patience while we work this out with CBS.”