| July 18
July 18 Millions of Time Warner Cable
customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas could miss out on
the summer reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" and "NCIS" if the
cable operator does not reach an agreement with No. 1 broadcast
network CBS by July 24.
CBS launched a marketing campaign on Thursday, warning that
customers in those three large markets could lose access to the
network next week, when an existing agreement between the two
companies is set to expire.
CBS wants to get paid for giving Time Warner Cable the right
to carry its free-to-air broadcast networks, known in the
industry as a "retransmission" fee.
"Time Warner Cable is planning to drop the most popular
programming in its entire channel lineup because it won't
negotiate the same sort of deal that all other cable, satellite
and telco companies have struck with CBS," the broadcast network
said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable said CBS is asking for a 600
percent premium above what it pays CBS in other areas of the
country, which it called "unprecedented" and "unreasonable."
Threats of blackouts have become increasingly common in the
TV business as networks, which provide programming, and cable
operators, which transmit that content into living rooms around
the country, battle over terms in contentious negotiations.
A source close to CBS said the companies' agreement expired
in June after they had been in talks for months. The source
declined to be identified because the talks are not public.
The deal was extended until July 24 at 5 p.m. EST so that
the stations could stay on the air while the companies
The dispute would only affect Time Warner Cable customers in
three metropolitan areas who receive the CBS-owned stations
WCBS-TV and WLNY in New York, KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles
and KTVT-TV and KTXA-TV in the Dallas.
Time Warner Cable is the second-largest U.S. cable provider
with about 12 million customers.
Retransmission consent fees are a major revenue stream for
CBS which has said it is on track to generate $1 billion in
payments by 2017.
CBS set up a website "KeepCBS.com" featuring links that let
customers contact Time Warner Cable with their concerns.
The companies announced their last deal in January 2009.