CBS Corp. and AT&T are playing hardball in TV land, leaving some 6.6 million viewers of DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse in the dark as of this past Saturday after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on a new content-distribution pact.
The network blackout affects CBS-owned stations on DirecTV and U-verse systems in 17 cities, including Seattle, Los Aneles, San Francisco and Sacramento on the West Coast, according to CBS and media reports. Some 117 CBS stations and affiliates on DirectTV Now also are impacted.
“DirecTV and AT&T U-verse TV have dropped CBS,” the network states in a tweet. “Visit KeepCBS.com to find alternative viewing options and call 1-855-5-KEEP-CBS to tell DirecTV and AT&T U-verse TV to bring back CBS.”
“AT&T’s willingness to deprive its customers of valuable content has become routine over the last few weeks and months, and recent negotiations have regularly resulted in carriage disputes, blackouts and popular channels being removed from their service,” CBS said in a statement posted on its website.
The online statement by CBS Corp., released just prior to the blackout, asserts that AT&T “continues to propose unfair terms well below those agreed to by its competitors.”
AT&T counters that it asked CBS to keep its stations available while contract talks continued, but CBS chose to remove them instead. “This is completely CBS’s decision,” AT&T states in an online notice to customers.
“CBS senior executives have been boasting to Wall Street about new ‘all-time highs’ in operating income and revenue,” the statement continues. “At the same time, CBS has hit cable and satellite TV providers and local station affiliates with $1.6 billion in fees the past year. These fees are expected to soar nearly 60 percent to $2.5 billion in the next 18 months.”