CBS retaliates, blocks online shows for Time Warner cable customers

LOS ANGELES Fri Aug 2, 2013 9:34pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. broadcast network CBS took its dispute with Time Warner Cable to the Internet, blocking access to shows on the CBS.com website for the cable operator's customers in New York and Los Angeles.

The move followed Time Warner Cable's decision on Friday to drop CBS from its systems in those markets and some others, an escalation of a weeks-long fight over the fees it pays to carry the network.

CBS's retaliation showed the increasingly powerful position content owners enjoy online. Time Warner Cable controls access to CBS programs seen on TV, but it is powerless to do the same for its online customers.

CBS, home to hits such as "The Big Bang Theory" and "NCIS," said online access to full episodes of CBS shows was suspended for Time Warner Cable customers "as a result of Time Warner Cable's decision to drop CBS and Showtime from their market."

"As soon as CBS is restored on Time Warner Cable systems in affected markets, that content will be accessible again," a company statement said.

Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff said CBS had shown "utter lack of regard for consumers" by blocking access for the cable provider's customers.

"CBS enjoys the privilege of using public-owned airwaves to deliver their programming - they should not be allowed to abuse that privilege," she said.

Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge said CBS' decision to block online access was "consistent with what we've heard from some elements of the broadcasting industry recently - they simply place little value on their over-the-air viewers."

"They are in the cable programming business, not the broadcasting business, the group added. "It is no longer clear why broadcasters of this kind should continue to hold the billion-dollar licenses the public gave them for free, if they no longer want to use them for their intended purpose."

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (2)
arbit3r wrote:
“Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff said CBS had shown “utter lack of regard for consumers” by blocking access for the cable provider’s customers.

“CBS enjoys the privilege of using public-owned airwaves to deliver their programming – they should not be allowed to abuse that privilege,” she said.”

How bug of morons TWC is seems to always reach a new level when some spat comes out. First they come out with the “No one wants gbit internet to their house” they said that is according to users they poled, but NEVER said price they quoted the users. Now they pull channel of their list and when CBS responses by blocking online viewing. From a customers view point TWC started ball rolling blocking their customers from viewing CBS content, CBS just finished what TWC started. Funny how they say how CBS enjoy’s air waves to serve content but shouldn’t be allowed to do what they did online? Last i checked CBS was still on the airwaves so TWC people can still watch cbs, not through TWC.

Aug 03, 2013 2:03am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SonsiMehenna wrote:
My two cents:
I don’t even have tv programming–only internet. And I am angry that they blocked me because of a TV issue. As an internet viewer I watch the commercials of CBS’s advertisers — advertising I don’t see elsewhere because I do not have cable or other TV service. And I don’t have much of a choice who I use — cable is only provided by one operator at a time in our districts. There is no “choice.” So CBS you have hurt your advertisers and you have lost my business. I don’t care about Under the Dome anymore since I couldn’t go in this morning to watch it. I’ll just find some other interesting show on syfy or other channel to replace you–permanently.

Aug 06, 2013 11:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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