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CBS and Charter Communications Set Broad Distribution Deal

CBS Corp. has sealed a long-term distribution deal with Charter Communications that includes retransmission rights for CBS-owned stations and expanded authenticated streaming rights to CBS and Showtime programming.

The deal covers retransmission consent rights for CBS O&Os in major markets — notably New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Boston — and CBS-owned CW affiliates in Atlanta and Tampa, Fla. Charter previously did not have authenticated streaming rights to CBS or CBS Sports Network programs. Carriage pacts for Showtime, CBS Sports Network, and Smithsonian Channel are also included in the multi-year pact with Charter, the nation’s second-largest cable operator behind Comcast with 16.4 million video and 22.9 million broadband subscribers.

“We are very pleased to extend and expand our partnership with Charter, which clearly recognizes the value CBS’ industry-leading content brings to their viewers throughout the country,” said Joseph Ianniello, chief operating officer of CBS Corp. “This latest deal once again helps us achieve our company’s economic and strategic goals, while delivering must-have content to viewers live and on demand whenever and wherever they want.”

The deal with Charter came together without any public saber-rattling over terms or fee increases, which has been increasingly common in high-level distribution contracts between media giants. CBS’ previous pact with Charter was believed to have expired in April. In 2013 CBS and Charter’s predecessor, Time Warner Cable, had a monthlong blackout as they wrangled over the fees CBS sought for retrans rights for its O&Os and for VOD and streaming rights. Cementing a long-term pact with Charter is important to providing stability for CBS Corp. in the all-important measure of affiliate fee revenue.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with CBS that reflects the importance and breadth of Charter’s distribution and provides us expanded rights to provide our customers increased access to CBS’ content both inside and, now for the first time, outside the home as well,” said Tom Montemagno, Charter’s exec VP of programming acquisition.

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