updated 05:30 pm EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
14 million people potentially affected by disconnect
In the latest development in the Time Warner Cable and CBS licensing disagreement, Time Warner Cable has yet again discontinued CBS-owned programming in New York City, with other venues to follow. Channels affected by the negotiation failure are local CBS stations, Showtime, The Movie Channel (TMC), Flix, and the Smithsonian channel. Areas likely to see the programming cut are Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and Pittsburgh.
Regarding today's disconnection, CBS calls the move "injurious not only to our many affected viewers, but also to Time Warner Cable itself. Throughout this process, Time Warner Cable has conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning - such as the fictional and ridiculous 600 percent increase CBS supposedly demanded - while maintaining antiquated positions no longer held by any other programming distributor in the business."
CBS claims to want "fair compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world. We will not accept less. We will not sign away rights not granted to others. We will not give up our channel position or any other asset by which our viewers identify us."
A statement from Time Warner regarding a brief disconnect earlier this week claims that the cable company "offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS's demands are out of line and unfair -- and they want Time Warner Cable to pay more than others pay for the same programming. Time Warner points customers to alternatives, such as Aereo, CBS.com and over-the-air antenna reception as temporary alternatives. Time Warner's recommendation of CBS.com as an alternative outlet has met with failure for Road Runner customers, as CBS has blocked all IP addresses coming from the Time Warner-owned service.
The cable giant claims that "switching is not the answer; sooner or later CBS will threaten others and go dark, just as they have with Dish in the past." The negotiation deadline was extended following the earlier shutdown, but no deal has been reached.
According to sources, Time Warner Cable pays between 75 cents and $1 per subscriber. CBS is reported seeking as much as $2 per customer despite reports of up to a 600 percent promulgated by Time Warner Cable earlier in the process. CBS CEO Les Moonves said in a memo to customers earlier this month that "it's not like Time Warner Cable doesn't have the money. Cable is a very, very profitable business, and Time Warner Cable can certainly afford to pay CBS a fair rate for our programming without passing any added cost on to its customers."