CBS Goes Dark on AT&T Amid a Dispute

CBS Corp., the most-watched television network in the US, is off the air in more than a dozen American cities due to a stalemate between the network and AT & T Inc., one of the largest pay-TV providers.

The network said in a tweet that AT & T has dropped its DirecTV and AT&T U-couplet, which affects customers in cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where the pay-TV channel logo appears in location of the local CBS channel late on Friday evening Pacific time. The two parties do not agree on the costs of CBS channels. CBS has asked for a significant price increase, AT&T said Friday. CBS said AT & T paid below market interest rates because of a deal from 2012.

“The DirecTV deal that ends tonight was signed in 2012 and does not come close to the current market conditions for CBS content – which AT&T competitors have repeatedly agreed to,” CBS said in a statement.

AT&T said it had asked the channels to remain available to customers while the calls continued. “CBS has removed them instead,” said the pay-TV provider. “This is entirely the decision of CBS.”

Fighting between television networks and TV distributors is more common because both parties suffer from declining cable and satellite subscriptions. US pay-TV providers lost 1.4 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2019, the worst loss ever recorded.

AT&T is trying to limit cost increases in its pay television division, which has lost customers in recent years. AT&T lost 627,000 customers in the first quarter of this year. In July, AT & T darkened 120 stations of Nexstar Media Group Inc., including local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, in a similar dispute over programming costs.

The audience of viewers of all major TV networks is declining, but that does not prevent them from asking for more money. CBS is one of the most aggressive companies in the search for increases in payments from pay-TV providers that carry its network, which is known as retransmission costs. Reimbursement for return and reverse fees increased to $ 1.6 billion in 2018, according to company documents.

CBS ‘last deal with AT&T was signed in 2012 when the network started to switch on pay-TV systems to pay more for programming. In September 2013, CBS won a substantial increase in costs after darkening Time Warner Cable’s programming for a month before the start of the National Football League season.

The football season does not begin for longer than a month, which means that AT & T passes some time before the CBS viewing audience rises.

AT&T said it asked CBS to transport CBS All Access’s streaming service, but was rejected, although Roku and Amazon offer the service.

In addition to the CBS broadcast network, the dispute concerns stations of the CW network in five cities.

Written by Tommy Kilmer

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CBS stations blacked out for DirecTV customers after deal with AT&T fails

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