08.03.2010 11:50 AM
CBS and Comcast Sign 10-Year Retrans Agreement
NEW YORK: CBS and Comcast today announced a comprehensive, 10-year agreement providing retransmission consent of the Eye network’s television stations until 2020. The pact also includes carriage of all the Showtime Networks, the launch of the Smithsonian Channel, and expanded distribution of CBS College Sports. Comcast in turn will get more access to CBS and Showtime programming for on-demand cable and onlinCBSie platforms.

The deal comes as Comcast awaits regulatory approval of its proposed majority acquisition of NBC Universal. The cable operator has stayed out of a movement led by Time Warner Cable to overhaul retransmission consent rules. TWC, along with several cable and lobbying groups formed the American Television Alliance to persuade lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit TV stations from pulling signals during retrans negotiations.

CBS has 29 owned-and-operated TV stations--14 that program the CBS network and 15 that program The CW. The Smithsonian Channel is a joint venture between CBS’s Showtime Networks and the eponymous institution. Comcast has 23.2 million video subscribers, and 16.4 million broadband and 8.1 million voice customers, plus numerous cable networks and several professional sports teams.

Financial terms of the 10-year agreement between the two were not disclosed. CBS shares gained 5 percent on the news to reach $15.41 at mid-day. CBS Corp. stock (NYSE: CBS) is up around 10 percent year-to-date. Comcast shares dipped by around a nickel to $19.42. Shares of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMSCA) have gained 15 percent year-to-date.

-- Deborah D. McAdams

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