You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS Won’t Be in DirecTV Now at Launch, but Talks With AT&T Continue

AT&T’s aggressively priced DirecTV Now internet-television package is set to debut Nov. 28, but out of the gate CBS — consistently among the most-watched TV networks in the U.S. — will not be included, sources confirmed.

The telco has been furiously working to seal programming deals ahead of the launch of DirecTV Now, which AT&T says will start at $35 per month for a lineup of 100-plus channels. Bloomberg reported earlier that CBS will not be in DirecTV Now initially. Reps for AT&T and CBS declined to comment.

CBS and AT&T are continuing to negotiate on a deal to carry the Eye’s programming as part of DirecTV Now at some later date, according to sources. CBS last month inked a deal with Google for a “skinny bundle” of TV networks to be called YouTube Unplugged, expected to launch early next year.

CBS also offers its own OTT package, CBS All Access, which costs $6 per month with ads and $10 per month with limited promo and ads in live TV programming. CBS does have a deal with Sony’s PlayStation Vue for certain markets, but is not part of Dish Network’s Sling TV bundle and has not reached a deal yet with Hulu, which is assembling a live broadband-delivered TV service slated to debut in early 2017.

AT&T on Monday officially announced an expanded carriage agreement with Fox Networks Group, under which the telco picked up streaming rights for DirecTV Now to Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FX, FXX, and other networks, as well as a “framework” for Fox Broadcasting programming to be delivered to DirecTV Now customers nationwide. AT&T previously announced deals for DirecTV Now with Disney/ESPN, NBCUniversal, HBO, Turner, AMC Networks, Viacom, Scripps, Starz, A+E Networks and Univision Communications.

The specific packages that will be available with DirecTV Now have yet to be announced, but with a $35 price point for at least 100 channels, AT&T will be offering the service at a negative margin, according to analysts.

DirecTV Now will provide streaming access to live TV and VOD across an array of mobile and connected-TV devices, and AT&T is expected to offer sign-up incentives to customers including a free Apple TV device for those who pay for three months of service.

Separately, AT&T on Monday officially responded to an FCC inquiry about the telco’s sponsored-data wireless program and its “Data Free TV” program that exempts DirecTV’s video apps from counting toward AT&T wireless usage limits. The head of the agency’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau had expressed “serious concerns” that the practices would put content providers unaffiliated with AT&T at a disadvantage. In response, Robert Quinn, AT&T’s senior VP ‎of external and legislative affairs, argued that the telco’s sponsored-data program offers consumer benefits and claimed the company offers the same terms and conditions to third parties that it does for DirecTV.

More Digital

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Quibi Has Already Booked $100 Million in Ad Sales, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman Say

    Quibi, the ambitious short-form video venture from Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, has sold $100 million in upfront ad inventory with six advertisers ahead of its April 2020 debut. Advertisers that have committed ad spending to Quibi include Google, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Walmart, Progressive and AB InBev, according to the company. The $100 [...]

  • China's iQIYI Signs Content, Channel Pact

    China's iQIYI Signs Content, Channel Pact With Malaysia's Astro

    Astro Malaysia, Malaysia’s leading pay-TV operator, has struck a strategic agreement with Chinese streaming platform iQIYI. Astro obtains the exclusive rights to deliver iQIYI content on TV, on-demand and via OTT in Malaysia. It will launch the first iQIYI-branded channel comprising iQIYI’s extensive slate of original content from drama to variety shows and movies. Astro [...]

  • Toy Story 4 Forky

    ‘Toy Story 4’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Disney Pixar claims the top spot in spending with “Toy Story 4.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.53 million through Sunday for 1,073 national ad airings on 38 networks. [...]

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • Vice Media Digital Makeover Triggers Traffic

    Vice Media Digital Makeover Triggers Traffic Slide

    Life on its own online isn’t easy for Vice Media. Ending the digital publisher’s controversial practice of rolling up web traffic for partner sites into an aggregated number resulted in the total domestic traffic falling nearly by half between March 2019 and the following month, according to Comscore. The numbers improved slightly for May, when [...]

  • Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Global indie-label collective Merlin reported record distributions in its 2019 membership report, paying $845 million to label and distributor members between April 2018 and March of this year. That figure, a 63% year-over-year increase, includes more than $130 million paid out this year from non-royalty income — and included in that figure is the estimated [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content