The NY Times reports analysts are saying it is looking like the blackout of CBS stations in more than three million homes subscribing to Time Warner Cable could last until the start of the National Football League season on 9/8.
That would mean three more weeks without CBS programming for the cable subscribers. The contract dispute is approaching the two-week mark with no hint of an imminent settlement.
“I really think these guys are going to need the N.F.L. to add a sense of urgency to this,” David Bank, a media analyst with RBC Capital Markets, told the paper.
Neither side in the standoff has mentioned any progress over the last several days. Both have continued to level charges and accusations of blame for Time Warner Cable’s decision to remove CBS’s stations in areas the cable company covers, which include subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
The issue centers on retrains fees. CBS has asked for a substantial increase, widely estimated at a $1 per subscriber raise. Time Warner Cable has declared the demands exorbitant. There are also streaming rights issues on the table including rights to packages of programming that CBS sells to on-demand subscription video services like Netflix and Amazon. Time Warner Cable wants to gain access to that content; CBS insists it would mean Time Warner Cable was getting for free something it sells for hundreds of millions of dollars to on-demand services.
The NFL season has been cited frequently as the bridge too far because of expected protests and suits from customers missing games. The cable operator acknowledged at the start of the blackout that it was removing the CBS stations well ahead of the football season because it would lose leverage in the talks once the season began.