Just a few days ago, CBS and AT&T both issued statements blaming the other side for an impending blackout of the network. While these all-too-common carriage disputes are often resolved before customers see a change, this fight is carrying on, and customers are losing out.
As of Saturday morning, July 20, all DirecTV NOW customers and DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse customer in many major markets (Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Sacramento, Tampa, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh and Baltimore) no longer have their local CBS affiliate. The CBS Sports Network on DirecTV and DirecTV NOW is also affected, as is the Smithsonian Channel on DirecTV.
The contract, signed back in 2012, expired last month. A one month extension was granted, but AT&T turned down another extension.
The two sides have negotiated for months, but have hit a stalemate on how much AT&T will pay CBS for the right to carry their content. CBS is looking for “fair value for its popular programming” according to a statement from the company, “similar to those that AT&T’s competitors have accepted in hundreds of our recent distribution agreements.”
AT&T responded however, by placing the blame on CBS, calling them a “repeat blackout offender.” In their eyes, CBS wants “unprecedented increases.” AT&T also raised issue with CBS showing content exclusively on their All Access streaming service instead of broadcast television.
It’s likely this issue will be resolved in just a few days, as these squabbles most often are. But given that neither side seems close to giving it, it wouldn’t be surprising if customers were locked out for a few weeks or more.