CBS, AT&T Forge Deal To End Three-Week Blackout

CBS and AT&T have hammered out a new retransmission deal.

The multi-year deal — for which terms were not disclosed — ends a three-week blackout of local CBS programming, the CBS Sports Network and the Smithsonian Channel on AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms in 17 major markets, plus 117 CBS stations and affiliates on DirecTV Now.

Approximately 6.5 million AT&T subscribers have been affected since July 19. Their access to the CBS content resumes as of today.

In a statement, the two companies said they “regret any inconvenience to their customers and viewers and thank them for their patience.”

The resolution comes just days before the start of NFL preseason games this weekend.

The retransmission agreement covers 26 CBS stations in the 17 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

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It also covers upcoming AT&T platforms, reports Broadcasting + Cable.

In addition to pricing, the companies negotiated over whether AT&T could sell CBS' All-Access streaming service as a separate option, and “whether CBS would be required to produce programming such as the Grammy Awards in a higher-than-typical 4K resolution, according to sources familiar with the negotiations,” reports US News. “They also negotiated on whether CBS would provide AT&T with past episodes and entire seasons of shows, and whether CBS content would be available to all DirecTV consumers, according to the sources.”

AT&T’s even longer dispute with Nexstar is ongoing.

Programming for more than 120 Nexstar-owned TV stations across 97 U.S. markets has been blacked out on DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and AT&T’s subscription-based streaming service DirecTV Now since July 4.

During Nexstar’s second-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Perry Sook said that the two companies have continued to “trade proposals and negotiate” in private, but did not comment on when the situation might be resolved.

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