One Week Later, CBS Still Dark on Time Warner Cable

The Young and the Restless

The Young and the Restless

On Friday both CBS and Time Warner Cable confirmed that they are back at the negotiating table to hammer out a dispute that's caused more than 3 million subscribers to be without the network's programming in addition to Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix and the Smithsonian Channel. Unfortunately, there seems to be no end to the blackout in sight.

The argument, it seems, is over online content. On Thursday Martin Franks, an executive vice president at CBS, told a New York City Council hearing that negotiations with Time Warner Cable have "gone badly off course". He accused the cable company of trying to negotiate terms that would limit CBS' ability to do business with Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

MORE: CBS Says Time Warner's Offer Is Just Empty PR

Even more, he claims that Time Warner is insisting on securing the same terms and conditions of their last agreement which was signed in 2008 and expired in June. That would mean some of CBS' content would be supplied to Time Warner for free whereas other companies like Netflix would be required millions of dollars to distribute the same content.

"Perhaps their real aim here is to use those outdated terms to hamstring our ability to do business with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus and other new entrants that pose a new competitive threat to their former, cozy, unchallenged monopoly status," Franks said. However CBS has no plans to become Time Warner's accomplice in trying to throttle those competing streaming services, he added.

Naturally there are two sides to every coin. Time Warner called those comments "erroneous", that the expired and proposed agreements do not restrict CBS from selling rights to Netflix, Amazon and other parties. They also don't restrict CBS from distributing content for free online through CBS' website or mobile apps.

The bickering thus continued to go back and forth. CBS claims that Time Warner wants the broadcaster to either sever its ties with companies like Netflix and Hulu Plus in the digital space, or it wants all online content handed over for free. Time Warner claims that it's willing to pay more for the same rights it had in the old agreement, but that CBS is "countering by taking some of those rights away and charging more and we don't think it's right for customers to pay more while getting less."

While the bickering continues, Time Warner customers in the affected areas will likely miss their dose of the PGA Championship on Sunday. Meanwhile, Moffett Research analyst Craig Moffett predicts that cord cutting – the act of cancelling a cable subscription in favor of Netflix and Hulu Plus – are on the rise. Around 898,000 U.S. households have dropped their cable subscription in the past 12 months, up from 455,000 households the previous year.

Time Warner customers frustrated over the whole CBS blackout still won't have access to their favorite shows if they decide to cut the cord, at least, not outside paid services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. All Time Warner customers are unable to stream content from the CBS website or through the network's mobile apps. Those residing outside the "blackout" areas also can't access on-demand content even though CBS network content still airs on their TV.

By blacking out CBS, Time Warner has essentially raised its subscription rate, forcing customers to pay the same for less given that content has been locked out both offline and online. The company is reportedly offering pro-rated rates to customers who are subscribing to the premium channels like Showtime and The Movie Channel, and replacing them with Starz Kids and Family.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • abbadon_34
    While I don't normally take the liberal socialist view, NPR reports that this is actually a much bigger fight, with Consumers and Cable Companies (TimeWarner) vs. Channel bundlers and oligarchs (CBS). A compromise was almost reached, allowing for Cable companies to offers consumers individual channels, but was bulldozed by a coalition of channel cartels. The bottom line: buy all of them or none of them, and don't let anyone break the cartel.
  • SirGCal
    A prime example of Corporate Greed. All Around.

    1) actors getting too much for crappy shows to begin with.
    2) TV should be making their money off the commercials people are FORCED to watch non stop over and over, not out of their own pocket for the privilege to watch the crap they feed us.

    I'm too aggravated to go on... But it goes on and on...

    I'm very against piracy, but honestly, it's no wounder it is so proliferate in an industry so messed up as this.
  • drwho1
    I don't see the problem, I get CBS perfectly fine with my OVER THE AIR antenna.

    I dished cable years ago and I'm not planning to go back any time soon.

    Sure there are some cable shows that I like, and guess what there ARE alternate ways to watch them.
  • icemunk
    and across the world, noone really cares.. since most people know how to get their TV on the internet.
  • egmccann
    "By blacking out CBS, Time Warner has essentially raised its subscription rate, forcing customers to pay the same for less given that content has been locked out both offline and online. " ... well, I'd accept that statement if it had been a significant amount of time since the lockout started. The most annoying thing is both of them sniping about the other "Wanting to raise rates." TWC claims CBS wants a 200% increase. CBS says TWC wants to raise prices *600%.* (or did at one point.) And, of course, with negotiations being "confidential," nobody can tell who's trying to do what.

    For me, all I'm really interested in is the BBC, a bit of Science - occasionally catching something on another channel. There's so little WORTH watching right now otherwise that I really don't miss it.
  • Mid-Hudson-IT
    all this will do in the long run is make more people download the shows. In the end users will probably just keep downloading the shows and in the end the rating for the shows will drop.

    This constant bickering of them is annoying and childish to say the least.

    CBS and Time Warner just don't plan ahead, viewers will adapt. Sadly it seems Corporations don't adapt quick enough.....When will they learn?

    They wonder why people just download shows..... this is a fine example....
  • deftonian
    Dexter dies... Deb is pregnant with Dexter's next child, Vogul goes to prison for being a pedophile.

    There, no need to have Showtime anymore :)
  • unksol

    That's all well and good. And I fully support networks putting their FREE over the air content on their own websites. Even with the commercials. Yes. They are slightly annoying, but pay for the show. And I'll never buy anything advertised anyway.

    Far more annoying is the tiny selection and the deals they have made with satellite and cable that limit what everyone else can get, or when they can get it, and the limited selection. When they can get FAR better ratings tracking online than with Neilson. Neilson ratings have not made sense for a decade(basically a crappy limited poll of the same people). They clam it's all they have.... But they have the internet.

    The HUGE issue here is that CBS is blocking time Warner internet customers from accessing FREE internet content because the subscribers ONLY internet option is time Warner. That's huge. Limiting your access to the internet because of your ISP. when you probably only have one choice anyway. CANNOT be tolerated. you should NEVER EVER EVER be blocked from any online content because of who your ISP. That has to be stopped. NOW

  • nebun
    who cares...CBS sucks big time
  • Ashley Stephens
    This is a crock of crap. The networks have no right to charge for something that is free over the air. If TWC holds pat, other Cable Co's will too. They offered to go al la carte on CBS, but CBS called it a stunt, which is their code speak for, "we know a bunch of people won't pay for their crappy product.

    Remember when the NFL tried the same crap. They wanted a ridiculous amount for their "network". They sued the Cable Co's to try and get what they wanted, and tried to force the Cable Co's to put it on their basic package. They told them to GFY. It's pathetic. What TWC should do is negotiate a split the difference agreement, then preempt all of their commercials and generate their own revenue.

    AMC pulled the same crap. Said the price increase was justified, but diluted their content (website,Netflix,Amazon, etc) by making it available everywhere. Why would I pay more when I'm one of 7 companies AMC is extorting for their content.