CBS Goes Black For 6.5 Million AT&T DirecTV, U-verse Subscribers

Over the weekend, CBS and AT&T brought 2019’s to-date tally of TV station blackouts to 214. 

As of 2 a.m. July 20, CBS went dark for some 6.5 million subscribers to AT&T’s DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse services in some 14 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas.

Negotiations over carriage terms failed after days of public volleys between the nation’s most-watched TV network and the owner of DirecTV, the nation’s biggest traditional pay TV platform. CBS has 119 million households, about 90 million of which receive it through paid services. DirecTV has 19 million subscribers.

In a release last week, CBS said it was “negotiating resolutely and in good faith,” and asserted that AT&T was continuing “to propose unfair terms well below those agreed to by its competitors.”



AT&T had been paying CBS slightly over $2 per AT&T subscriber each month, and CBS has been pushing for about $3, according to unnamed sources cited by The New York Times.

In addition to a smaller fee increase, AT&T, for its part, wants to be able to sell CBS’s All Access as a separate option — possibly  to gain the flexibility to remove CBS from its basic bundle, per the report.

DirecTV customers looking to view CBS programming are being advised to sign up for CBS All Access — or to try Locast, a free service enabling local broadcast stations to be viewed digitally, via the internet, within their specific markets.

In no-coincidence moves, AT&T added the Locast interactive app to its DirecTV and U-verse receivers on May 30, and in late June announced that it was donating $500,000 to Locast’s operator, the nonprofit advocacy group Sports Fans coalition NY (SFCNY). Locast is now available to more than 32 million users in 13 cities.

AT&T also continues to offer its complimentary Local Channel Connector service when a local station is otherwise unavailable. The Local Channel Connector provides stations' over-the-air digital signals via a free digital broadcast antenna and enables customers to select channels using the program guide.

Meanwhile, in a blackout that’s been dragging on since July 4, AT&T paid subscribers across 20 local markets have been unable to view 120 Nexstar-owned stations.

Nexstar claims that it offered AT&T an unconditional extension to enable continued viewer access for 30 days while negotiations continued; AT&T claims that the offer was actually conditionedon Nexstar’s desired higher rates being applied retroactively.

As of last week, the two sides reportedly had resumed negotiations.
3 comments about "CBS Goes Black For 6.5 Million AT&T DirecTV, U-verse Subscribers".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 22, 2019 at 9:16 a.m.

    Karlene, the statement that the CBS TV network has 119 million viewers of whom 90 million receive it through "paid services" is, of course, a referrence to households, not people. The number of people that CBS reaches in a month must be something like 200 million, with more joining in over longer periods.

  2. Frank Anthony from Self, July 23, 2019 at 12:54 a.m.

    Rinse and repeat.  Rinse and repeat.  Yawn!  I was in the biz 25 damn years and NOTHING ever changed (nor will it).  Fusion, apollo, 3rd party, 1st party, STB, panels, samples, list matches...blah blah blah.  Sometimes I felt that lack of progress in measurement was welcomed by all since it gave us something to whine about...justifying our jobs.  Nothing changes in this space.

  3. Debbie PATTERSON from Independent , July 23, 2019 at 1:41 a.m.

    They can keep there Channel! Nothing worth paying extra for just boring I'm not paying for there greed!

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