CBS, blacked out in a retransmission dispute with Time Warner Cable, has reached a distribution agreement with another carrier, Verizon Communications.
Financial terms of the Verizon deal were not disclosed, but the agreement covers the CBS-owned stations in markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, where CBS is not being carried by Time Warner. FiOS TV subscribers will continue to receive CBS programming via Verizon’s free video on demand service.
The renewal -- CBS's retrans deal with Verizon didn't expire until year-end -- also calls for expanded distribution of CBS Sports Network.
CBS’ successful negotiations with Verizon provided a contrast with its difficulties with Time Warner Cable. “This deal was reached in a short period of time, and CBS has once again achieved fair value for our over-the-air rights,” Ray Hopkins, president, Television Networks Distribution, CBS Corporation, said in a statement. “Verizon is a distribution partner of growing importance to us that provides excellent service to its expanding number of subscribers, and we are glad that this partnership will continue and grow.”
“We’ve reached this agreement in partnership with CBS for our customers, so that they may continue to enjoy CBS content on FiOS,” said Terry Denson, vice president of video content and strategy at Verizon. “Verizon continues to address areas of change where necessary in current policies to better reflect the interests of consumers.”
CBS and Verizon have an existing deal covering Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian channels blacked out by Time Warner Cable.
In an email to CBS staff, CEO Les Moonves said:
“I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way these negotiations have gone. Never in my most pessimistic moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long and have been so difficult. In many aspects of the deal, Time Warner Cable is demanding different terms than any other company in the business. I am frankly mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency to resolve this matter for their customers.
Still, we’ll keep talking. Today’s announcement makes clear, however, if there was ever any doubt, that we are prepared to move decisively and thoughtfully to achieve a good conclusion for all parties involved in these kinds of negotiations. When Time Warner Cable is ready, we’ll be there.”