Millions of DirecTV subscribers have lost access to CBS programming on Friday after discussions about a new distribution deal had failed.
CBS Corp. and AT & T Inc., owner of DirecTV, were unable to reach an agreement at 11 p.m. Pacific deadline. Without a contract, AT&T no longer had the authority to include signals from the CBS station in its television packages in more than a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Sacramento.
The signals from the station were drawn at approximately 11:15 p.m. Pacific Ocean.
CBS owns two stations in Southern California, KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9, and both were included in the blackout. The outage extends to CBS ‘Smithsonian Channel, CBS Sports and four CBS-owned television stations that perform CW programming.
It was not immediately clear how long the standby would last.
“After months of negotiations, CBS just wants to get a fair price for its popular programming,” CBS said in a statement shortly after ATS’s programming was scrapped from AT & T’s television services. “The DirecTV deal that ends tonight is in 2012 signed and nowhere comes close to the current market conditions for CBS content. “
CBS demands higher fees for the retransmission of pay-TV distributors. The move is that AT & T and other cable and satellite TV companies are struggling to secure program costs because they are afraid of losing even more subscribers to cheaper streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix.
“The problem is that broadcasters, such as CBS, demand more money for shows, that their viewers – our subscribers – watch less,” AT&T said in a letter to Congress members on Friday, warning of a possible blackout. “Our customers are fed up with these tactics. They are tired of the endless cycle of price increases and blackouts.”
AT&T is the nation’s largest pay-TV distributor with nearly 24 million customer homes, including an estimated 1 million in Los Angeles.
But the telecommunications giant based in Dallas is under increasing pressure to control costs because it is struggling with the disappearance of subscribers. AT & T has lost about 1 million DirecTV subscribers in the past year, so the company has lost CBS requirements.
The outage means that AT&T subscribers in key markets (where CBS owns the local station) no longer have easy access to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” and “60 Minutes.” In different regions of the country, all three AT & T television offers – DirecTV satellite service, fiber-optic U-Verse and the DirecTV Now streaming platform – are now without CBS programming.
“CBS has put our customers at the center of its negotiations by pulling its local CBS stations in 14 cities,” AT&T said in a statement. “We had hoped to interrupt an unnecessary interruption of stations in the CBS or national channels that some of our customers care about. But CBS refused.”
DirecTV Now subscribers in more than 100 markets also lost access to CBS, the broadcaster said.
CBS blamed AT & T for the impasse.
“AT & T’s willingness to take valuable content from its customers has become routine in recent weeks and months, and recent negotiations have regularly led to the elimination of transportation disputes, blackouts and popular channels,” CBS said in a statement.
CBS recently negotiated a retransmission agreement with DirecTV in 2012 – three years before AT & T acquired the El Segundo satellite television company. The television landscape has since changed dramatically and CBS seems to be making a big profit in this negotiating round.
His efforts, however, come at a time when AT & T is already feeling the tricks. Last year AT&T bought the program company Time Warner Inc., which was the parent of CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, TBS and the film and television studio Warner Bros. AT & T has taken on a huge debt to finance that acquisition, as well as the DirecTV purchase in 2015. Investors have encouraged AT & T to find ways to reduce costs and pay off the debts.
But CBS also has financial imperatives. The broadcaster in New York has tried to increase the revenue from the mission costs, so that it is less dependent on advertisements. TV assessments have fallen, but programming costs are increasing. CBS is also preparing for crucial contract negotiations with the NFL. Analysts say that CBS and other broadcasters are likely to have to process hundreds of millions of dollars more annually to maintain their NFL game packages.
Statistics Netherlands uses retransmission fees to cover the high costs of football.
This is the second time this month that AT & T has lost the programming of a large television station group. At the beginning of July, AT & T was forced to drop the transport of 120 Nexstar TV stations when AT & T refused to comply with Nexstar’s requirements. Nexstar, based in Irving, Texas, currently serves communities such as San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield, Colorado Springs and Wichita, Kansas.
Some members of Congress have called on Nexstar and AT&T to end this dispute.
To prepare for the blackout, AT & T has guided consumers to the Locast app, which allows viewers to stream programming their ABC, CBS and other channels via the internet. AT&T also suggests that its subscribers pay for the CBS All Access streaming service for $ 5.99 per month. In addition, consumers can install digital antennas to receive the signals from broadcasting stations, including CBS. The use of such devices has been on the rise.
“Although we continue to negotiate in good faith and hope that AT & T will soon agree to fair terms, the loss of CBS programming could take a long time,” said CBS.