Nothing against my friends at CBS, but…

AT&T — which owns DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse — released a statement saying it

“offered to pay CBS an unprecedented rate increase and the highest fee we currently pay to any major broadcast network group. CBS has refused.”

On the other hand, CBS claims it’s

“simply looking to receive fair value for its popular programming and that it’s money to which AT&T’s competitors have repeatedly agreed.”

Those are the reasons customers of the companies shown above can’t watch CBS-owned TV stations (including some CW affiliates), other CBS affiliates, the CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel.

Keep in mind, CBS is not going broke and that we cable and satellite customers are really the ones paying more.

How long can broadcast stations see viewership shrink (and even more starting today), ad dollars go elsewhere (hopefully online, specifically!), yet have the audacity to expect more money in retransmission deals?

Recently, I wrote about The Big Bang Theory‘s finale and showed how the number of viewers compared to M*A*S*H‘s, and some other shows in the decades between, shrank drastically.

How many stations actually owned by CBS beat ABC and NBC stations in local news in their markets? (Does CBS even offer local news in Detroit, where it owns two stations?) Aren’t all of its stations’ ratings falling as I type? Doesn’t CBS spend less on its local stations than other corporate owners, with recent employee buyouts as evidence?

Is this blackout worth it for CBS in the long run when its viewers get used to watching the competition, or streaming? And pick up bad feelings? (Same story with Nexstar, doing the same thing with 120 stations affiliated with all the networks.)

The timing is pretty lousy for the one-time Tiffany Network.

As of today, CBS viewers have weeks to plan how to watch their football games. Then, the rest will have another month to figure out how they’ll watch the new TV season. (That’s if they’re still interested in old shows without new episodes since May. Forget about new shows with no attachment!)

But first, what about the one-week-old CBS Evening News with Norah ODonnell and viewers who tired of changes to CBS This Morning? Or plans for CBS to join up with Viacom again? Do any content producers or distributors want Congress getting involved?

I suggest all sides take an honest look and put greed and jealousy aside, for the greater good. Consider the American people’s airwaves and the public interest, not just shareholders’. Only alternatives will win.

Disclosure: I happily worked at two CBS-owned stations. Actually, considering duopolies (owning more than one station in a market) and a Grade B overlap (owning stations in markets next door to each other, where people living in between can pick up stations from both cities), I’ve worked for at least five: WFOR and WBFS in Miami, WTVX in West Palm Beach (since sold to Sinclair, along with two low-power stations there), and KYW-TV and WPSG in Philadelphia.


Something to add? Disagree? Let us all know!

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