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CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

America’s most watched network (CBS) and the second largest cable operator in the country (Time Warner Cable) are battling it out over retransmission fees and come Wednesday, July 24, fans of CBS’ programming including “,” “,” “,” “,” “,” and more could find their screens blackened if they live in:

  • New York:  WCBS and WLNY (Ind)
  • Los Angeles:  KCBS and KCAL (Ind)
  • Dallas:  KTVT-CBS and KTXA (Ind)
  • Boston: WBZ-CBS and WSBK (Ind)
  • Pittsburgh: KDKA-CBS and WPCW-CW
  • Chicago: WBBM-CBS
  • Detroit: WKBD-CW
  • Denver: KCNC-CBW

Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable

“CBS wants Time Warner Cable to pay over 600% more in the cities where they own the TV stations than we pay in other areas from coast to coast for the same CBS programming,” says Time Warner Cable. “You may not realize it, but most local TV stations are owned by independent companies, not the networks.  So we negotiate for the right to carry CBS network programming in City A from one company and City B from another.  And since we negotiate for the same CBS network programming from coast to coast, we know what the going rate is.” To make things clear and to the point, Time Warner Cable adds, “CBS is asking us to pay 600% more to buy their programming directly from them in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas than we pay to buy their programming from other companies in dozens of other cities across the country. That’s wrong. It’s unreasonable to expect our customers to pay a 600% premium in a handful of cities, and so we are negotiating very hard for a reasonable price.”

CBS meanwhile only says, “Don’t be left stranded without your favorite programming! Time Warner Cable has not renewed its contract to provide you with all your favorite CBS shows. Don’t be the only one who can’t see ‘,’ ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘2 Broke Girls,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘,’ ‘‘ and the final season of ‘.'” In a video highlighting the dispute, however, CBS does say, “Time Warner Cable is holding your favorite shows hostage. They’re threatening to drop CBS. It’s not an empty threat. In the past five years Time Warner Cable has dropped nearly 50 channels. We are proud to say CBS has never been dropped by a cable company. CBS is working in good faith to resolve this situation, but wants to alert you that Time Warner Cable may disrupt your TV viewing as earlier as July 24.” For more information, CBS viewers are being asked to call (855) 345-5337 or visit KeepCBS.com.

Full Time Warner Cable Statement:

You may have heard that CBS is threatening to black out its channels in some of our markets (including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas).

Here’s the story: CBS wants Time Warner Cable to pay over 600% more in the cities where they own the TV stations than we pay in other areas from coast to coast for the same CBS programming.  You may not realize it, but most local TV stations are owned by independent companies, not the networks.  So we negotiate for the right to carry CBS network programming in City A from one company and City B from another.  And since we negotiate for the same CBS network programming from coast to coast, we know what the going rate is.

CBS is asking us to pay 600% more to buy their programming directly from them in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas than we pay to buy their programming from other companies in dozens of other cities across the country.

That’s wrong.  It’s unreasonable to expect our customers to pay a 600% premium in a handful of cities, and so we are negotiating very hard for a reasonable price.

This is not a standard debate over price increases.  This is different. CBS’s demand for a 600% premium is unprecedented.

Les Moonves, President and CEO of CBS, has always been outspoken about the programming fees he believes he deserves.  He has said “the sky is the limit” when talking about the price he thinks he deserves for his CBS stations, and he clearly means it. He doesn’t seem to care about our customers’ budgets or the going rates for CBS programming.

We’re going to continue to negotiate and hope to come to a reasonable resolution before our deadline, so that our customers don’t have to endure yet another broadcaster blackout.

While the current contract, signed in 2009, expired in June, both parties agreed to keep discussions ongoing through 5:00 PM ET on Wednesday, July 24. Should talks fail, viewers in the above mentioned markets will find their CBS stations blackened.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK? Comment Below...
  • Over4tea

    Television networks don’t care about their viewers. They don’t care if our bills go up because of their demands for exorbitant, ridiculous fees. If TWC drops CBS, they will lose ratings. They will tell people to switch to satellite, then when that contract is up, they’ll ask for the same crazy fee. These are commercial television networks, and people should not have to pay insane amounts to watch them or switch back and forth. This is a very greedy practice, and I’m glad the cable and satellite companies fight against it. Are the “free” networks trying to make cable unaffordable so we all go back to antennas?