CBS Goes Dark For Millions In AT&T Contract Dispute

Deadline Hollywood reports:

CBS stations in more than a dozen markets, including New York and Los Angeles, have gone dark on AT&T’s DirecTV satellite systems, DirecTV Now internet-delivered bundles and U-verse cable systems. The dispute went public earlier this week, with the usual exchange of harshly worded statements.

The carriage contract between the CBS stations and AT&T-owned satellite giant DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse cable systems officially expired Friday at 11 PM PT.

Affected markets include New York, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore and 117 CBS stations and affiliates on DirecTV Now.

The New York Times reports:

In a statement, CBS said it “made every effort to avoid this blackout,” but that it wouldn’t agree to terms that “undervalue our hit programming.” AT&T called CBS a “repeat blackout offender” and said the network had been demanding “unprecedented increases” in the fees it charges.

Broadcasters like CBS receive what’s known as retransmission consent fees — the equivalent of a monthly licensing fee — from distributors like DirecTV. CBS is asking for an increase over the rate it last negotiated in 2012, when market conditions were different and pay-television bills were cheaper.