Time Warner Cable just stopped broadcasting CBS and Showtime just after 5 p.m. today, as Time Warner and CBS are haggling over retransmission fees. CBS said in a statement, "We deeply regret this ill-advised action, which is injurious not only to our many affected viewers, but also to Time Warner Cable itself. Throughout this process, Time Warner Cable has conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning — such as the fictional and ridiculous 600% increase CBS supposedly demanded — while maintaining antiquated positions no longer held by any other programming distributor in the business."
This is what the screen for WCBS 2 showed today at 5:03 p.m., during the 5 p.m. newscast:
CBS has made outrageous demand for the programming that it delivers free over the air and online, requiring us to remove their stations from your lineup while we continue to negotiate for fair and reasonable terms. We regret this inconvenience, but fell it is crucial that we let CBS know that we're willing to do what it takes to keep down the price of TV.
There are several ways that you can still see you favorite shows, including using an antenna to get CBS free over the air, online at CBS.com, and via Aereo (free trial available through Aereo.com). As a courtesy we will provide replacement programming from Starz Kids and Family on a temporary basis beginning shortly.
Please visit TWCConversations.com/CBS for more information. We appreciate your business - thank you for being a Time Warner customer.
CBS was briefly dropped earlier this week during negotiations but then the deadline was extend to today at 5 p.m.; at the time, the NY Times reported:
The move to drop the CBS stations was unusual because in numerous recent cases, warring sides from cable and broadcasters have struck last-minute deals to avoid any interruption of service.
But Time Warner Cable had made clear it intended to limit the fee increases to substantially less than what CBS was demanding. Time Warner Cable has put the increase at 600 percent, a figure that CBS executives described as laughably inflated and wrong. Though no official numbers were publicly discussed, one executive familiar with CBS’s negotiating position put the increase that CBS was demanding at 20 to 25 percent.
The retransmission fees are actually tied to local stations. Cable systems are being asked to pay for the right to carry those stations on their systems. In the past, broadcast networks were content with only guarantees of carriage by cable companies.
Hey, how much are we paying Time Warner for that modem?