DIRECTV NOW, DIRECTV and U-verse customers are regaining access to CBS-owned channels. AT&T and CBS confirmed an agreement had been reached which brings to an end the blackout experienced by a number of AT&T's video customers.
The joint announcement was made today with both companies confirming a "new multi-year content carriage agreement" is in place.
The new agreement means DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW and U-verse subscribers will regain access to the CBS-owned channels that had previously been blacked out. Affected users are expected to see the blackout come to an end today.
The blackout originally went into effect on July 20 after CBS warned it was likely to happen. Since then access to select channels had been removed across AT&T's video services and it remained unclear when the situation would be remedied. For example, by July 24 AT&T suggested there had been radio silence between the two. In spite of this, AT&T did state it remained hopeful an agreement would be made and now one has.
The blackout affected video customers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa. While DIRECTV NOW subscribers were further impacted due to a nationwide blackout of some channels, including The CW.
Both companies were fairly vocal at the time when it came to who was to blame with each clearly pointing the finger at the other. Considering the terms of the new agreement have not been disclosed, it remains to be seen who, if anyone, blinked first.
This is only one of many similar disputes that are currently in effect within TV land. This also includes AT&T who at the same time as falling out with CBS has been engaged in a similar dispute with Nexstar. The current announcement made no mention of that dispute and so it is assumed the effects of that blackout will remain in effect. It also remains to be seen if that issue will be resolved anytime soon considering when AT&T made its optimistic comments about a CBS deal, it also stated how it expected the Nexstar situation to be more of a long-term problem.
Nexstar aside, this will be good news for regular CBS viewers as both brands had received significant social media pressure to make a deal happen. CBS is a popular option among viewers and therefore the removal of the access affected a significant number of users.
Likewise, DIRECTV NOW has been undergoing its own subscriber issues due to what appears to have been a subscriber exodus in recent months. Part of this subscriber decline is understood to be intentional on AT&T's behalf as it actively looks to clean up its subscriber base. Although the increasing of prices, decreasing of available channels, and the number of carriage disputes AT&T has been involved in recently have all likely played their part as well.
Besides redefining what DIRECTV NOW offers and charges, AT&T is also in the process of a much wider video service rebrand. For example, AT&T recently confirmed DIRECTV NOW is in the process of becoming AT&T TV NOW.