CBS and AT&T End Carriage Spat, Agree to New Distribution Deal

CBS-owned stations had been off AT&T and DirecTV since July 20

Last Updated: August 8, 2019 @ 6:11 AM

CBS and AT&T have ended their weeks-long carriage fight, agreeing to a new distribution deal on Thursday.

The new multi-year agreement restores CBS-owned local TV stations, as well as CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel to AT&T’s video platforms. The networks had been off AT&T and DirecTV since July 20.

The agreement includes retransmission consent for all 26 CBS-owned stations in 17 markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

The channels will return to AT&T, DirecTV and its streaming bundle DirecTV Now immediately. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The two companies went back and forth in the press after they could not come to an agreement in July. CBS said it offered AT&T a 30-day extension to continue negotiations, but that AT&T declined. AT&T later denied that was part true and responding by saying it offered an “unprecedented pay raise.” At the time, CBS warned the blackout could last awhile, which ended up being nearly three weeks.

AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said on the company’s earnings conference call a few days after the blackout started that the difference between the fees CBS was pushing for and what AT&T was willing to pay was “not that wide” and said CBS was simply not responding to their offer.

CBS is set to report its third quarter earnings on Thursday, where executives will likely talk further about the new agreement.