CBS, TWC go over the brink


CBSAt least this time the MVPD in a failed retransmission consent negotiation can’t complain about a broadcaster pulling stations off its channel lineup when an impasse is reached. According to reports, Time Warner Cable dropped CBS and CBS-owned cable networks despite CBS’s offer to keep them active while talks continue.

TWC said that CBS was refusing to engage in productive talks.

CBS  respectfully disagreed, saying it was simply looking to reach an agreement in line with contracts it has with “every other cable, satellite and telco provider.” The network accused TWC living in the past as well as” indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning – such as the fictional and ridiculous 600% increase CBS supposedly demanded.”

CBS said it marked the first time it had ever been dropped from a cable system.The stations going dark were on TWC cable systems in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit and Denver.

TWC also blacked out cable channels Showtime, TMC, FLIX and Smithsonian, according to USA Today.

Showtime was stunned, and issued its own separate statement:

“Showtime Networks’ customers nationwide have had their services disrupted by Time Warner Cable today, when for the first time in Showtime history a distributor has chosen to remove the network’s programming – despite the network’s authorization to allow carriage while negotiations continue. Our customers chose to subscribe to Showtime, and Time Warner Cable in turn chose to pull our service from the subscribers we both serve. Attempts to reach an extension on negotiations were denied by Time Warner Cable, resulting in Showtime going dark in major markets.

Showtime said the disruptions were both “completely unnecessary” and “totally punitive to our subscribers.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Most of these negotiations are settled without a service disruption. The exception for broadcasters has been when they’ve locked horns with Dish, DirecTV or TWC.

In this case, let’s put it this way. CBS rarely is involved in a negotiation that includes a service disruption. TWC is often involved. You do the math.