California senators call for end to CBS-TWC sparring


U.S. CongressDiane Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) believe that subscribers are the big losers in the ongoing retransmission consent impasse between CBS and Time Warner Cable and have called for an end to the hostilities.

The senators jointly wrote the following letter which they sent to both CBS exec Les Moonves and TWC exec Glenn Britt.

Dear Mr. Britt and Mr. Moonves:

It has now been 11 days since retransmission consent negotiations between your two corporations reached an impasse.

Millions of customers in the Los Angeles area and throughout the country have subscribed to receive the programming CBS networks create and Time Warner Cable distributes, but are unable to access it because of this standoff.

The status quo is unfair to the millions of your customers who are caught in the middle of your dispute, and we strongly encourage both sides to resolve it immediately.


Barbara Boxer, United States Senator
Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator

RBR-TVBR observation: What is notable about this particular event is its rarity. What we mean is, you don’t see politicians grandstanding and writing letters about retransmission consent every day. That’s because usually negotiations are concluded without any headlines, drama, or lost programming.

When there is an impasse, the kabuki begins – and politicians frequently take advantage of the opportunity to loudly stand up for their constituents, even though there’s not much that either Congress or the FCC can do beyond make noise .

By the way, there is another thing missing from this one: a big televised event. There is no sports championship, no international sporting event, no major awards show on the horizon; in short, nothing TWC can hang its hat on to claim broadcasters are using such an event to their advantage. It’s just one more small piece of evidence that points to TWC as the true instigator in this disagreement.