CBS Corp. has completed a major goal in its quest for big retransmission revenues: a 10-year deal with Comcast Corp. for CBS Television Stations.
The deal with the largest U.S. cable operator also includes distribution for the Showtime Networks group of pay channels, Comcast's launch of the Smithsonian Channel and added distribution for CBS College Sports. Also part of the pact, expanded video-on-demand access of CBS and Showtime shows from their cable and online platforms.
CBS had already completed major retransmission deals with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision last year. CBS has reportedly received up to 50 cents per cable subscriber per month from those deals.
Earlier this year, Fox was in a public battle with Time Warner during its retransmission negotiations, and reportedly was seeking $1 per cable subscriber per month.
In the past, CBS has suggested it could eventually garner $300 million a year in overall retransmission fees. Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., has said he expected CBS's owned stations could earn $200 million to $250 million in retransmission revenue by 2012.
In commenting about the CBS deal, Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corp., stated: "In this time of rapidly changing technology and viewership interest, we were able to structure a deal that gives customers the content they want without any threat of disrupting their service."
"We are very pleased that Comcast has confidence in our ability to deliver premium content to its large and loyal subscriber base," added Moonves in that release.
"Beyond securing another key retransmission consent agreement for CBS Entertainment, News and Sports programming, it also provides for the long-term future of Showtime Network's original programming and movies on Comcast's platform," said Moonves, "and expands the reach of our growing College Sports and Smithsonian franchises."