The dispute between CBS and Time Warner continues, as on Wednesday CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonve replied to Time Warner chairman and CEO Glenn Britt's proposal offered on Monday, and clearly shows no sign that the two will back down from their blackout standoff. As it stands now, millions of Time Warner subscribers are without CBS, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix and the Smithsonian Channel.
"I was surprised to get your letter yesterday, particularly since I hadn't spoken to you in more than a week," Moonve told Britt. "Come to think of it, you haven't reached out to me personally, as I have to you on more than one occasion, even once during this entire matter, so your communication was both unexpected and welcome."
Because Britt's letter was publicly released at the same time it was received by Moonve, he believes the Time Warner CEO's attempt to mend bridges was more of a dishonest public stunt rather than a sincere gesture. Backing this theory is a Time Warner exec and upcoming CEO who went on CNBC and said that he was "not aware of CBS having made a counterproposal or responded to our proposal in any way" not five minutes after the proposal was actually delivered to CBS.
Moonve called the Time Warner letter a "well-wrought distraction", and reminded the company that it has in its possession more than 100 pages of the original CBS proposal. He said the cable company never once returned a mark-up or reply about anything within the volume of economics, terms and rights agreements. Then on Friday, despite having a one-week extension to negotiate, Time Warner pulled the plug on programming.
"Why? Because, as your new CEO stated, Time Warner Cable would 'have more leverage' with CBS off the air and our viewers deprived of our programming," his letter states. "Since that night, Friday at 5:00 PM, we have not heard from anybody at Time Warner Cable to discuss anything at all, in spite of your public statements to the contrary. Until, of course, your public letter masquerading as a private one."
He goes on to call Time Warner's "a la carte" option an empty gesture, as the cable company industry really isn't set up for that kind of subscription-based access. He also pointed out how Time Warner forces subscribers to pay for Lakers and Dodgers channels even if they don't want them, yet Time Warner is having trouble paying for the network that brings viewers NFL, the NCAA Basketball Tournament and more.
"Are you really so reluctant to come to the same kind of agreement that we have struck – without incident – with every other cable operator, telco and satellite provider?" he states. "You already pay ten networks on your channel lineup more than you compensate CBS, all of which have far fewer viewers. What we are looking for, have always been looking for, is fair compensation for our content."
The drama goes on for a bit longer until Moonves concludes that instead of engaging in public posturing that does nothing more than create confusion, Time Warner should return to the negotiating table and talk about the real issues that are preventing millions of viewers from getting their daily dose of The Young And The Restless.
So who represents Victor Newman (Newman Enterprises) and who represents Jack Abbott (Jabot)?