Large Station Groups Pull CBS Affiliates from FuboTV

(Image credit: fubotv)

NEW YORK—In a notable example of the growing tensions between national broadcast networks and local station groups, a number of major station groups have removed their CBS affiliates from the streaming pay TV service, FuboTV. 

Paramount Global had negotiated a carriage deal with FuboTV that includes carriage of the local stations. But the CBS Affiliate Board refused to back the deal and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media, Gray Television, E.W. Scripps Co., Tegna, Hearst Television and Cox Media Group have since removed their CBS affiliates from FuboTV.

Traditionally negotiations with streaming services like FuboTV have been handled at the local level but the growing importance of streaming media has pushed stations to be more aggressive in this area and heightened ongoing tensions between the networks and their affiliates. 

Paramount Global is providing the national CBS network feed without the local content from stations to FuboTV. 

“FuboTV’s affiliation agreement with Paramount Global includes our right to carry CBS-owned and operated local stations and affiliated stations upon their election to opt into it,” FuboTV noted in a statement to its subscribers. “Unfortunately, some CBS affiliates have decided not to opt into our current agreement. CBS has provided a national feed in those affected markets, allowing our customers to continue watching their favorite CBS programming.” 

FuboTV said that Paramount Global national networks such as CBS Sports Network, CBS News, SHOWTIME, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, and Paramount Network, among others, are not affected by the dispute, which only impacts local CBS affiliates in select areas. 

Sister publication B+C reported that “in a note to stations last week, the CBS affiliate board said it `remains adamantly opposed to Paramount’s insistence on controlling the retransmission rights of independently-owned local CBS affiliates on vMVPD platforms like Fubo.’”

B+C also reported that the CBS affiliate board, which did not endorse Paramount’s FuboTV deal,  told stations “Paramount negotiates on behalf of 100% of all local stations in conjunction with Paramount’s other over two dozen cable networks. Once Paramount reaches an agreement conferring unknown value on its own cable channels and other assets, it presents a take-it-or-leave-it' offer to 'opt in' to a vMVPD distribution agreement with no changes.”

More on the controversy can be found here.  

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.