At 5:15 EDT Time Warner Cable pulled the plug on DBS in three different cities. New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California and Dallas, Texas after the long-running negotiation between the two companies failed to compromise on the fee issue.
The CBS blackout came just over a month after their previous agreement expired. The two companies had extended the agreement repeatedly in order to continue negotiations on a new contract.
The disagreement stems from the fees that Time Warner Cable pay for carrying CBS programs. CBS released a statement accusing Time Warner of not playing fair. The statement read, in part, that the company was carrying on their side of the negotiations, “in a combative and nonproductive spirit…while maintaining antiquated positions no longer held by any other programming distributor in the business.”
A counter “accusation” came from Time Warner Cable who also released a statement saying, “CBS has refused to have a productive discussion” over the past few days. It’s become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they’re not willing to come to reasonable terms.”
This negotiation “stalemate” affects around three million subscribers. The “blackout” by Time Warner affects not only CBS corporation’s Showtime premium channel but CBS as well.
Accusations from Time Warner Cable says that CBS are demanding higher fees in certain heavily populated cities. Fees that are larger than what the cable company pay in other parts of the country.
Other network owners and distributors will be watching the blackout with interest as tensions increase network owners and distributors. Pay-TV operators argue that the rising fees of the broadcasting networks, called retransmission fees, are causing their programming costs to increase disproportionately. But according to networks like CBS, the higher fees are necessary to break away from relying too heavily on advertising.
Time Warner Cable pulling the plug on CBS in three different cities isn’t a new tactic. In 2012, Viacom Inc, blacked out MTV and Nickelodeon for nine days because of a fee dispute.
Time Warner Cable have said that they will put another network into the vacated CBS slot. Apparently the company are already in negotiations with other programmers for the space.
In the Dallas area a message was broadcast over the two affected channels, KTVT-Channel 11 and KTXA-Channel 21 saying that, “CBS has demanded an outrageous increase for programming that CBS delivers free over the air and online, requiring us to remove their stations from your lineup while we continue to negotiate for fair and reasonable terms.”
If the two combating companies cannot reach an agreement by Sunday, Timer Warner Cable plans to broadcast Starz Kids and Family over Channel 11. There have been no reports of what will happen in the other two affected cities where the CBS blackout applies.
Time Warner Cable has pulled the plug on CBS in only three major cities. It appears that they are trying to drive home a point with the programming stations. If you ask for too much money in fees, you can be replaced.
By Michael Smith