CBS signs 10-year retrans deal with Comcast


Comcast Corporation, which is in the process of buying NBC Universal, and CBS Corporation announced agreement on a new 10-year retransmission consent agreement for Comcast cable systems to carry the 29 O&O CBS Television Stations. The agreement also covers CBS Corporation’s cable properties.

In the cable network area, Comcast will add the Smithsonian Channel, expand distribution of CBS College Sports and continue carriage of the full suite of Showtime Networks. In addition, the companies said, Comcast will have greatly expanded on-demand access to CBS and Showtime content via their cable and online platforms.

“We are very pleased to have reached a long-term agreement with CBS to distribute its valuable programming across our multiple platforms. Les Moonves has been a real leader as the media industry experiments and moves toward delivering content to customers whenever and wherever they want to watch it. We are proud to partner with CBS as we give our customers the content they love on TV, Video on Demand and online,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. “In this time of rapidly changing technology and viewership interest, we were able to structure a deal that gives customers the content they want without any threat of disrupting their service,” he added.

“This agreement demonstrates the enduring value of CBS’s content across our Company,” said CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves. “Beyond securing another key retransmission consent agreement for CBS Entertainment, News and Sports programming, it also provides for the long-term future of Showtime Network’s original programming and movies on Comcast’s platform, and expands the reach of our growing College Sports and Smithsonian franchises.  This deal could not have happened without the vision of Brian Roberts and [Comcast COO] Steve Burke.  We are very pleased that Comcast has confidence in our ability to deliver premium content to its large and loyal subscriber base.  I look forward to all that we will do together — across multiple platforms — to offer the audience we share the viewing experiences they’ve come to expect from our two companies,” Moonves said in the announcement jointly issued by the two companies.

The CBS Television Stations group covered by the 10-year retrans agreement consists of 29 stations, including 14 that are part of the CBS Television Network and 15 that are affiliated with The CW Network, MyNetworkTV, or operate as independents. They are WCBS-TV New York, KCBS-TV & KCAL-TV Los Angeles, WBBM-TV Chicago, KYW-TV & WPSG-TV Philadelphia, WBZ-TV & WSBK-TV Boston, KPIX-TV & KBCW-TV San Francisco, KTVT-TV & KTXA-TV Dallas-Ft. Worth, WUPA-TV Atlanta, WWJ-TV & WKBD-TV Detroit, KSTW-TV Seattle, WCCO-TV Minneapolis, WTOG-TV Tampa-St. Petersburg, WFOR-TV & WBFS-TV Miami, KCNC-TV Denver, KOVR-TV & KMAX-TV Sacramento, KDKA-TV & WPCW-TV Pittsburgh, WJZ-TV Baltimore, WGNT-TV Norfolk, as well as satellite stations KCCO-TV Alexandria, MN and KCCW-TV Walker, MN.

RBR-TVBR observation: Of course, no one is going to disclose the financial details, but CBS has been among the most aggressive in demanding payment for retransmission consent for its local stations. The deal helps Comcast with its effort to demonstrate to regulators and Members of Congress that it can pull off being on the cable side in some retrans negotiations and, once the NBCU deal goes through, the broadcaster side in other retrans negotiations. And we would not that a 10-year deal ensures peaceful coexistence for quite a while. Note Brian Robert’s comment about no threat of service disruption for consumers. That was clearly aimed at Congress.