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CBS & AT&T deal woos cord-cutters

News, 08 August 2017
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NEW YORK: US Carrier AT&T has bolstered its offer to viewers mulling whether to cut their cords and go online, as the company announced a new deal with CBS to stream content live in almost 25 US markets.

Through the company’s DirecTV Now online live-streaming service, subscribers will be able to stream CBS, CBS Sports, the CW channel and many of CBS' local broadcast stations, Reuters reported.

However, for customers hoping to have Showtime included in the package, they will have to pay a fee of $8 a month extra.

"This is another key milestone in bringing DirecTV Now users access to their favorite entertainment, news and sports from all of the major broadcast networks," said Daniel York, chief content officer – AT&T Entertainment Group.

"As we add more live national and local channels, we know even more people will choose DirecTV Now as their go-to streaming service."

According to Reuters, AT&T will pay CBS for its programming, in a move intended to help the network shift its revenue stream away from an ad-supported system.

The move follows recent deals that the network has struck, suggesting an anticipation of a bigger trend. It signed deals in 2016 with Hulu and Google’s YouTube streaming service, along with a deal earlier this year with Verizon.

"For any bundle to be truly successful, CBS is must-have content," said Ray Hopkins, head of CBS Corp's TV networks distribution.

Last month, AT&T’s DirecTV Now announced that just seven months post launch, it has reached nearly 500,000 subscribers, adding over 100,000 in the last quarter, TechCrunch reported.

The addition of CBS suggests that for many consumers, live-streaming services may be able to fully replace broadcast stations that would be lost by cord-cutting.

In July, Reuters found that five of the largest US pay-TV providers posted subscriber losses during Q2 2017, as consumers increasingly opted for skinny bundles or for internet-only streaming services.

Data sourced from Reuters, CBS, TechCrunch; additional content by WARC staff

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