The deal is important to the newly enlarged ViacomCBS as Comcast is the nation’s largest cable operator. At a time of rising tensions between programmers and cable operators, the ViacomCBS deal largely rooted in retransmission consent rights for the CBS-owned local stations serving 15 major markets came together without any public saber-rattling about blackouts.
“ViacomCBS has been a great partner, and we are very pleased to have reached this agreement to provide Xfinity X1 and Flex customers with more access to their content across multiple platforms,” said Rebecca Heap, Senior Vice President, Video and Entertainment, Comcast Cable.
The pact also covers Smithsonian Channel and CBS Sports Network. It expands the availability of the CBS All Access streaming app and authenticated streaming access to ViacomCBS-owned outlets across Comcast’s various wired cable and streaming distribution platforms.
The deal does not cover any of the Viacom cable channels. That’s likely to be a tougher negotiation as the portfolio includes a number of low-profile channels that are steadily losing MVPD distribution as operators look to hammer down on costs and create smaller channel bundles for consumers.
“We are very pleased to have reached this agreement to continue to bring CBS’ industry-leading entertainment, sports and news content from the CBS Television Network, Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, Pop TV and CBS Sports Network to millions of Xfinity customers, and delighted to offer these customers access via X1 and Flex to CBS All Access for the first time,” said Ray Hopkins, President, U.S. Networks Distribution, ViacomCBS Inc. “We look forward to discussing the entire ViacomCBS portfolio with Comcast in the future.”