Time Warner Cable's blackout of CBS over retransmission fees (CBS wants more money, TWC doesn't want to pay more) is adding up for the network. An analyst estimated that not being seen by 3 million viewers in key markets like New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, "could cost CBS Corp. about $400,000 per day, including lost retransmission revenue and a loss of advertising dollars at both the network and the stations."
However, it's not a huge deal to CBS—Variety reports, "CBS’s estimated daily loss of $400,000 is small coin in relation to the company’s total revenue: In the second quarter, the Eye reported $3.7 billion in revenue and net income of $472 million."
The squabble between the corporations could last weeks, as the two sides aren't actively negotiating. Currently, TWC pays $1 per subscriber to retransmit CBS's programming, but CBS wants something closer to $2. According to the NY Times:
The cable company initially labeled the demand exorbitant, and said the costs would have to be passed on to customers. (Cable prices have increased recently to an average of $60 to $70 a month, though analysts point out that the per-channel price has actually dropped because so many new channels have been added.)... CBS executives have cited the popularity of their network’s shows to justify a fee price closer to what successful cable networks get from cable operators. ESPN, for example, gets the top price of any network, $5.54 monthly per subscriber, according to SNL Kagan.
Another analyst tells the Times that "CBS’s financial demands were not only justified, 'I would argue they are almost a bargain.' He noted that CBS spends more than $4 billion a year on programming, 'four to eight times as much' as cable networks getting similar subscriber fees spend, and that CBS has an audience about five times the size."
CBS is scheduled to air its first NFL game on September 8, so most expect the standoff to end before then. In the meantime, the NY City Council is holding an oversight meeting this week about the blackout—Speaker Quinn said, "I believe this emergency oversight hearing is going to get Time Warner, CBS, consumers, customers, in a room together, and will get us to a solution."