CBS goes dark for 6.5M customers as contract talks with AT&T break down
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Amid tense contract negotiations between CBS and AT&T, the network reportedly went dark for 6.5 million DirecTV, U-verse and DirecTV Now customers across the country Saturday.
Some customers also lost access to CBS Sports Network and the Smithsonian Channel, Deadline.com reported.
AT&T said CBS is a “repeat blackout offender” after weeks of negotiations over pricing and streaming rights broke down, The New York Times reported.
In a statement,.CBS said, “This is just the latest example in AT&T’s long and clear track record of letting its consumers pay the price for its aggressive tactics to get programmers to accept below market terms,” adding that the blackout could last a “long time.”
A CBS logo is seen outside its headquarters, in New York. Dec. 6, 2018. (Associated Press)
CBS was being paid about $2 per AT&T customer in what’s called retransmission consent fees and the company is now asking for closer to $3 per customer, sources told The Times. CBS also reportedly wants to be able to offer its streaming service All Access separately.
The network is still available free through an antenna but about 90 million of the 119 million homes that receive CBS get it through paid TV, generating billions of dollars for the network, according to The Times.
CBS and AT&T negotiated their most recent contract in 2012.