By Liana B. Baker
Aug 22 Verizon Communications Inc reached
an agreement to carry CBS Corp television programming
while cable rival Time Warner Cable Inc's blackout of
CBS stretched into nearly its third week in New York, Los
Angeles and Dallas.
CBS' chief executive Leslie Moonves told employees in a memo
on Thursday that the same terms of Verizon's deal were also
offered to Time Warner Cable.
"You should know that Time Warner Cable has been offered
almost exactly the same deal for CBS carriage to which Verizon
has agreed," Moonves said in the memo seen by Reuters.
However, leading cable companies such as Time Warner Cable
and Comcast usually receive more favorable terms than
newer TV services such as Verizon because they have been around
longer and have more subscribers.
Verizon on Thursday said it agreed to continued
retransmission of CBS stations and wider distribution of CBS
Sports network on its FiOS TV service in multiple markets around
the country. Their previous agreement was not due to expire
until the end of year, Verizon spokesman Bill Kula said.
Both companies did not disclose how much the deal is worth
but typically analysts estimate a deal with a TV provider with 5
million subscribers can be worth upwards of $100 million.
Moonves expressed frustration in the memo over the fruitless
negotiations with Time Warner Cable, although he did say that
both sides will "keep talking."
"I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way
these negotiations have gone. Never in my most pessimistic
moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long
and have been so difficult," Moonves said.
Moonves added that the Time Warner Cable is "demanding
different terms than any other company in the business" and said
he was "mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency" on
Time Warner Cable's part to resolve the matter.
Time Warner Cable declined to comment on Moonves' remarks.
Verizon, which competes fiercely with Time Warner Cable in
New York, has said that it has signed on customers frustrated by
the CBS blackout, which started Aug. 2 after the companies
failed to agree on distribution terms.
Time Warner Cable Inc will lift a blackout of the local CBS
station in New York briefly on Thursday so subscribers can watch
a candidate debate in the New York City Comptroller race.
If the blackout continues, the company will also broadcast
the Republican mayoral candidates debate on Aug. 28 and the
Democratic mayoral debate on Sept. 23. But subscribers will
still be unable to watch any regular CBS shows.
Most analysts expect the two parties to reach a deal by the
time the National Football League season kicks off in September.