CBS Sports (voluntarily) joins Verizon Custom TV lineup

On the same day ESPN filed suit over Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) new program bundling strategy, CBS has willingly signed on for it.

CBS Sports Network will now be part of the "Sports Channel Pack" component of Verizon's new "Custom TV" bundle, a controversial new FiOS service added April 17.

Yes, CBS did this voluntarily, if this statement is any indication. 

"We are pleased to make CBS Sports Network a part of the new FiOS Custom TV lineup," said Ray Hopkins, president of television networks distribution, CBS Corporation. "We are confident that our expanding lineup of premier live programming will be a favorite among Verizon's sports fans and that this new option will help continue grow our distribution."

Verizon new Custom HD bundle provides 35 basic cable and broadcast channels to FiOS customers for $54.99 a month. These subscribers also get to choose two of seven add-on "Channel Packs" of 10-17 additional networks, themed around "sports," "news," "pop culture," etc.

On Monday, ESPN filed suit in New York, alleging the product violates terms of its program licensing deal with Verizon.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo, meanwhile, said last week that Verizon sees no problem with the strategy based on its existing contracts. 

"While consumer choice is at the heart of our Custom TV product, when customers make their choices we want them to have the best experience and the most robust package possible," said Terry Denson vice president, content acquisition and strategy at Verizon. "The addition of CBS Sports Network does just that, with a whole suite of programming that will satisfy a sports-lover's craving for games, features and analysis."

For more:
- read this Verizon press release

Related links:
ESPN sues Verizon over 'Custom HD' bundle
Is Verizon's Custom HD an Ergen-esque strategy for negotiating OTT rights?
Verizon's Shammo: We believe our 'existing contracts' allow skinny bundles

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