UPDATED: DIRECTV vs. CBS: When Will It End?


Q. I lost my CBS station on DIRECTV a few weeks ago and it has me worried quite a bit that I will miss the football games this year. Do you know when this fight between CBS and DIRECTV will end? — Charlie, Baltimore.

Update: On August 8, AT&T and CBS reached a new deal, ending the blackout.

Charlie, as you know, on July 19, DIRECTV (and DIRECTV Now and U-verse) lost the local CBS affiliates in 16 markets due to a dispute over how much it should pay CBS to carry them. The markets are: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

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(Note: DIRECTV, DIRECTV Now and U-verse, all owned by AT&T, are also missing some CBS affiliates in other markets due to separate carriage disputes. But this column is focused on the fight between the satcaster and the CBS-owned affiliates in the aforementioned 17 markets.)

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The two sides have made some contentious public statements, accusing each other of acting irresponsibly. But that’s par for the course in these types of disputes so I wouldn’t take their words as a sign for how long it will go on.

AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, is trying to redefine how the carriage game is played, for itself, and in some small part, for the industry as a whole. The telco, which has sharply criticized escalating programming fees, wants to draw a line in the sand with CBS. If it can get the network to lower its demand, it might lead to a reduction in fees from all programmers.

On the other hand, CBS, which has benefitted greatly from the rise in carriage fees over the last decade, wants to keep the gravy train rolling at normal speed, particularly now when pay TV operators are seeking to cut costs due to a decline in subscription numbers. The network’s position: You can cut costs, but don’t cut ours.

So the differences between the two are significant and not easily glossed over with one or two negotiation sessions. Consequently, I think this fight will extend until September, the beginning of the NFL regular season. At some point early in September, pressure from football fans and advertisers will finally spark a solution, albeit one that both sides are not terribly thrilled with.

Charlie, this is just speculation on my part. But knowing how these things go, I think you’ll see CBS back in your DIRECTV lineup by game two of the NFL regular season.

Happy viewing!

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37 comments on “UPDATED: DIRECTV vs. CBS: When Will It End?”

  1. I had a professional antenna installed and bought a Tablo Quad. Between them I spent about 800$. But it is worth it to me to never have to worry about these outages. In addition when there is a storm which affects my Directv I still have the OTA shows recorded. It’s ashamed I had to do this. But I see this happening more and more.

  2. I don’t understand your listing Seattle on the list of 17 markets in the CBS carriage dispute. I have Directv and the CBS station in Seattle is KIRO-TV which is owned by the Cox Media group. As far as I know, Cox is not currently having carriage issues with Directv in this area. As I write this, it is on the air and operating on Directv.

  3. I dropped Direct tv because of not receiving cbs, went to antenna, now my antenna channels are being scrambled. How can they get away with this?

    1. Same in Tampa market. We don’t get CBS affiliates but we get CBS. We do not get NBC cuz it is owned by Nexstar

      1. I know I’m so sick of this most of my channels are gone not only CBS. I’m just gonna go back to comcast.

  4. Need advise. We have DirecTV and yes we are frustrated. Looked into Foxfire, Roku and others. Need cable service Correct? We are seniors snowbirds travel. We do not have cable. Any suggestions. We have tried antenna boosters but most places we are to far away from stations to even pick them up.

    1. Does your directTv have the LOCAST app? My U-verse does and I get all the local channels including cbs and the cw through that. It works through the internet so as long as you have good internet speeds it’s great. I’ve been watching cbs through that. You just can’t record anything off it. You don’t need an antenna or buy anything for LOCAST.

    1. My family and I are getting really fed up with this ongoing feud. It’s bad enough how much I pay already now I can’t get cbs it’s ridiculous and I’ve had enough! I am going to cancel and use another service! You can bet my bill hasn’t gone down any. I thought this would go on for a week or two. Now I’m hearing msybe September! Unacceptable!

  5. We’ve gotten spoiled and we’re having to pay for it by either doing without or by our wallet. It’s all bureaucratic crap!!!!!

  6. I have U-verse in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve been getting cbs fine by going into my U-verse apps (interactive) and using the LOCAST app. All of my local stations are on there and with great quality. The only downside is that I can’t record anything with it. But I can watch live tv CBS, THE CW, ETC.. Just fine. I think direct tv also has the LOCAST app.

  7. Not only CBS. In my area, Richmond VA, we have not had ABC for over a month now. No one mentions that. DirecTV is awful since AT&T took over.

    1. You live in a big city, I live in Groveland that’s not a possibility. Digital waves degrade over the distances in the mountain.

  8. CBS can keep their crappy sports and far left news. Making ATT customers Pay an exhorbitant fee for one channel is piracy. Hope ATT says NO to CBS.

  9. Love Direct TV and have not missed CBS for 1 minute of 1 hour of 1 day!!! Tired of getting more and more fees added on to everything!

    1. I live in Tennessee and I haven’t had ABC since June. Directv / AT&T charge B.S. fees for everything. Family plans are not cheap either with fees on every family members phone and then the fees for directv too. Local channels used to be free, but government has to control everything. We are just pawns for the rich.

  10. It is GREED on both sides. I have direct TV and my stations are from Memphis. I am paying for CBS, Direct TV, and I’m not receiving it. Thanks for nothing. What if I take part of my payment out each month and call it ” MINUS CBS”? What do you think would happen? Right!!! Because of Good Ole GREED. Well, direct tv, as soon as we can find something else, you’ll be a has been.

  11. Paying over $140 a month for DirecTV and cant get my two channels I like ill give it till football season if not fixed im cancelling it

  12. It is terribly GREEDY especially on CBS’s part! They had done same thing with my friend years ago who had Time Warner Cable. I have DirecTV and it’s been weeks now without 70% of my favorite programs but no more!! I really think we should BOYCOTT CBS because of their greed. Remember what the payout was for Moonves after his sex scandal? It is obscene the amount of money they are making! They don’t care about their customers whatsoever. I am already looking for different programs to watch ON DIFFERENT NETWORKS and will cut out CBS as much as possible in the future. CBS NEEDS TO LOSE CUSTOMERS FOR IT TO MATTER TO THEM. It’s obviously all about the pocketbook for them!

    If you are paying for DirecTV obviously call them and ask for a discount. I did and will be asking for another discount soon since the dispute still has not been settled.

  13. I live in centre Alabama. I have DirecTV..I haven’t seen CBS station since the middle of June 2019 …I looked it up and found out that CBS want ppl to stream their programs at 5.99$ month w commercials or 7.99$ a month without commercials…its very crappy of CBS to do this …or you can go out buy an antenna …get CBS that way

  14. I love my CBS channel and if it’s a channel that I love watching seem like to me there are really nothing to watch on direct now my shows that I watch on Friday night I no longer can watch and this make me very angry because I love watching CBS especially the news

  15. You keep talking about cbs but we have not had nbc for over a month apparently for the same reason and we get the same response we are in Kansas

  16. You have to have to be close to the stations, digital waves degrade over distances. I live by Yosemite and I can’t get it.

  17. When will i receive a credit for the channels I don’t have. My rates are am not able to watch the shows i could watch in June. What do you think a fair credit amount would be to customers? I’m thinking $30 per month

  18. How about reminding viewers that network channels are broadcast for free and attaching a simple rabbit ear antenna may solve the problem?

  19. This is totally unacceptable….missing NBC and Fox 43. And still paying full price while being denied a major network , so far July and August 👿 ? Fix IT NOW! Work out disputes, stop acting like children. Missing some really great shows and September on horizon with new shows soon. I hate satellite dish in first place as every time is rains or wind blows, it goes out!

  20. Extremely upset that this feud with NBC & Direct TV is still happening!!! I have been going online to watch the few NBC shows that are on right now during the TV break. At least that’s what I call it. I swear if it’s still going on when the break is over, it will be so long & hello Cox!

    I honestly don’t understand how this channel that has always been free with an antenna, has a fee to be on a cable channel?? Maybe they made money on the commercials and are not allowed that option when the shows are ran on a cable network?

    Here in Kansas we are actually not getting 2 channels. CBS & CMTW. Happy for those of you that still have service or have found a workaround. I did try to go to my apps, etc but, there was NOTHING named LOCAST there.

  21. If it is not back on when Football starts, I will cancel immediately. I have been a loyal customer and fan of direct tv for over 15 years. Knoxville TN

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