As Comcast awaits approval of its $30 billion merger with NBC Universal, the company announced on Monday a 10-year carriage agreement with CBS.
The deal allows Comcast to carry CBS television stations through 2010. It includes full carriage rights for CBS-owned Showtime, expanded distribution of CBS College Sports and the launch of the Smithsonian Channel.
In addition, Comcast will have "greatly expanded on-demand access to CBS and Showtime content via their cable and online platforms.
Comcast chief Brian Roberts called Les Moonves “a real leader as the media industry experiments and moves toward delivering content to customers whenever and wherever they want to watch it."
Roberts added: “We were able to structure a deal that gives customers the content they want without any threat of disrupting their service."
Here’s the statement from Moonves: "Beyond securing another key retransmission consent agreement for CBS Entertainment, News and Sports programming, it also provides for the long-term future of Showtime Network's original programming and movies on Comcast's platform, and expands the reach of our growing College Sports and Smithsonian franchises. This deal could not have happened without the vision of Brian Roberts and Steve Burke.”
The Philadelphia-based company said navigating the NBCU deal closing has already cost the company $88 million this year — and $59 million in the second quarter alone.
Still, Comcast said it still expects to gain regulatory approval for its acquisition of NBCU by the end of the year.