CBS Goes Dark for DirecTV Customers Following AT&T Contract Dispute

DirecTV customers around the U.S. woke up this morning without access to CBS, the most-watched broadcast network in the country, following a breakdown in contract negotiations between the network and Dallas-based AT&T. The two parties failed to reach an agreement by 1 a.m. Saturday, causing CBS to be removed for DirecTV, U-verse and DirecTV Now customers in more than a dozen markets, ranging from New York to Los Angeles and including the Dallas-Fort Worth market."We want the CBS owned-and-operated local broadcast stations in our lineup," AT&T said in a statement. "Yet customers today are demanding more choice and value from their local stations. Instead, it has become clear to us that CBS is intent on blacking out any home that chooses to receive cable or satellite service, antagonizing its most loyal viewers."The blackout comes after contract negotiations spilled into the public's view this week with a series of harshly worded statements from both CBS and AT&T."CBS has reached timely, fair agreements with hundreds of other cable, satellite, telco and internet providers to carry our industry-leading, fan-favorite programming," CBS said in a statement. "AT&T, however, continues to propose unfair terms well below those agreed to by its competitors and may drop CBS unless we agree to those terms."In D-FW, CBS owns KTVT-TV (Channel 11) and KTXA-TV (Channel 21), putting both channels in the crossfire of the dispute. The blackout could also affect football season for customers as CBS stations carry both NFL and college football games throughout the fall.AT&T is recommending customers in affected markets find CBS content over the air or on CBS.com.There is no word on how long the blackout could last."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," the CBS statement said.AT&T is also involved in contract negotiations with Irving-based Nexstar Media Group, impacting DirecTV customers across the nation. Nexstar stations, which include local affiliates of NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC and The CW, have been blacked out since July 3.In its statement, AT&T said these types of blackouts could be eliminated for customers by networks engaging in "good faith negotiations.""Our goal is simple: to deliver the content our customers want at a value that also makes sense to them. We continue to fight for that here and appreciate our customers' patience," AT&T continued.  Continue reading...

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