DirecTV, CBS Renew Programming/Distribution Deal

WatchingOn the heels of some acrimonious carriage deals working out their differences -- Dish Network and Gannett Broadcasting, for example -- DirecTV and CBS have quietly renewed a wide-ranging programming deal.

The long-term deal with the 20-million-subscriber satellite network covers retrans consent for CBS owned stations and continued carriage of Showtime, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Martin Franks, executive vice president for planning, policy and government relations for CBS Corp, stated: "DirecTV clearly recognizes the value our stations and our cable channels bring to the audiences we share, and we have once again demonstrated how two great companies can come together to forge mutually beneficial free market agreements."

Derek Chang, executive vice president of content strategy and development for DirecTV, added that CBS and DirecTV both recognize that the interests of our customers are "best served when we can privately work together as true programming partners and responsibly work out an agreement that is fair for everyone."

CBS' aim is to get improved pricing from multichannel programming service providers -- in the 50 cents per subscriber per month range -- or more -- according to analysts. Its intent is to boost retrans coffers -- which it has repeatedly said will go directly to the bottom line. Some believe CBS could reap some $1 billion a year in retrans and carriage fees by 2016.

CBS has made recent network/station deals with Cablevision and AT&T.

CBS has had a different stance with DirecTV's competitor, Dish Network, which has some 14 million subscribers.

Dish's AutoHop commercial-skipping feature on its new Hopper set-top box is a major concern, says Les Moonves, president and chief executive officer for CBS Corp., who stated at a recent investor conference: “If they want to eliminate our commercials, we will not be in business with them -- it’s pure and simple."

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