Blaming every retransmission consent-related blackout on broadcasters has always been a hollow charge – it takes two to reach an impasse. But this time, the American Cable Association is blaming CBS for pulling content from Time Warner Cable systems when according to reports TWC is the one that pulled the plug.
ACA argues once again that the FCC and Congress must step in and protect consumers from broadcasters who deprive them of programming as a negotiation tactic.
“The action taken by CBS to black out millions of Time Warner Cable customers validates ACA’s oft-stated position that the rules governing retransmission consent are outdated and need to reflect current market conditions,” said ACA’s Matt Polka.
Polka added, “With the CEO of CBS openly declaring war on Time Warner Cable, Congress and the FCC need to take action to ensure that these types of disputes do not continue to erupt and victimize consumers who, in this case and in many more, seem to be at the mercy of a bellicose broadcast CEO with a Napoleon complex.”
However, in this case, CBS offered to keep its programming on TWC systems while negotiations proceed, only to have TWC can not only CBS, but content from CBS-owned cable networks, including Showtime, which TWC subscribers pay to receive.
RBR-TVBR observation: Bottom line, it doesn’t matter which side pulls the plug. If TWC is unwilling to consider paying what is becoming an industry-standard and very reasonable retrans fee, CBS is not to blame, and it is also well within its rights to withhold its programming. In fact, it has little choice other than to withhold access to that for which TWC refuses to pay a fair market price.
Further, there is evidence here which clearly identifies the villain in this matter. CBS rarely has negotiations which result in a program blackout. TWC frequently gets into blackout situations with numerous different broadcasters. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out which side it precipitating them.