CBS stations go dark for DirecTV customers amid contract dispute with AT&T

Darnell Taylor
July 22, 2019

As is usually the case, both companies are blaming each other for the disruption, with CBS telling viewers it was dropped by DirecTV, and AT&T saying CBS removed its content. "They are exhausted of the endless cycle of price increases and blackouts".

AT&T is recommending customers in affected markets find CBS content over the air or on CBS.com. DirecTV and U-verse together reach about 22.4 million subscribers. "The reason for CBS' refusal is because CBS and other companies that own local CBS affiliates - such as Nexstar, Tribune and Sinclair - want to limit customers' choices so broadcasters can keep using blackouts to cut off consumer access and inflate their fees".

In various regions of the country, all three of AT&T's television offerings - satellite service DirecTV, fiber-based U-Verse and the streaming platform, DirecTV Now - are now without CBS programming.

Fortunately, customers still can get their live local CBS station if they sign-up CBS All Access which is $5.99 a month after 7-Day Free Trial, or any of the other Live TV Streaming Services like fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu Live TV. Nexstar has local affiliates on the major four networks; CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC.

CBS blamed AT&T for the impasse.

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Some misplaced customers are also allowed access to the CBS Sports Community and Smithsonian Channel, as stated. CBS said it already granted AT&T one short-term contract extension after months of negotiations. "While we continue to negotiate in good faith and hope that AT&T agrees to fair terms soon, this loss of CBS programming could last a long time". Investors have been encouraging AT&T to find ways to reduce costs and pay down its debt.

As expected, AT&T and CBS were unable to come to terms on a new carriage deal by the 11pm PT deadline last night. Analysts say CBS and other broadcasters probably will have to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars more annually to retain their National Football League game packages.

"CBS is a repeat blackout offender", AT&T said in a statement.

In relation to a reduced price rise, AT&T also advocates the capacity to sell the streaming service of CBS as a distinct alternative, which can provide it with greater flexibility and reduced expenses by removing the channel from its fundamental package.

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