CBS stations go dark for DirecTV customers amid contract dispute with AT&T

The CBS Corporation logo is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

FILE PHOTO: An AT&T logo is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) – CBS Corp (CBS.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N) failed to renew their contact, resulting in millions of DirecTV subscribers losing access to CBS programming.

CBS television stations in over a dozen U.S. cities, including New York and Los Angeles, went dark for DirecTV customers effective 0200 ET (0600 GMT), CBS said in a statement on Saturday.

“While we continue to negotiate in good faith and hope that AT&T agrees to fair terms soon, this loss of CBS programming could last a long time,” CBS added, as the companies blamed one another for the deal’s collapse.

CBS, the network with hit shows like “NCIS” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” is directing customers to a website called “KeepCBS.com”, where they are urged to mail, call or post messages onto DirecTV’s social media pages.

In a separate statement AT&T said that they “were willing to continue to negotiate and also offered to pay CBS an unprecedented rate increase.”

In March, AT&T renewed its contract with Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) avoiding a blackout of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central for users of the telecom carrier’s pay TV service DirecTV.

CBS had informed its users on Tuesday that they should be prepared for a blackout from June 19, unless an agreement was reached with AT&T.

Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Powell