CBS is warning viewers that AT&T’s pay TV services including DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse could lose CBS broadcast networks soon if a new agreement isn’t reached.
The potential blackout would see CBS stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore removed from DirecTV and U-verse at 11 p.m. PT on July 19. DirecTV Now subscribers nationwide would lose access to CBS.
CBS accused AT&T of proposing unfair terms below those agreed to by other pay TV providers.
“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,” CBS said in a statement.
AT&T defended itself against CBS and Nexstar Media, with which it’s currently embroiled in another channel blackout.
“We are fighting on behalf of our customers in these negotiations with broadcast station owners and national networks,” the company said in a statement. “Customers today are demanding more value from their TV offerings. We must convince companies like CBS and Nexstar to accept the same call to action that our own TV customers have made clear.”
For multiple weeks, DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse have been without more than 120 Nexstar stations available to consumers and viewers in 97 markets across the United States. Nexstar said it offered an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement until August 2 but AT&T declined.
AT&T’s new and existing carriage disputes arrive amid the backdrop of AT&T investing in and integrating Locast, a streaming service that offers free access to local broadcast channels. In June the company invested $500,000 in Locast and said that the donation is meant to support Locast’s “mission to make free broadcast content available to consumers and offer them more choice.”