As we said on Friday, the pressure was mounting for Time Warner Cable (TWC) and CBS Corporation (CBS) to end their spat over retransmission fees and give back Time Warner customers CBS-controlled content that had been removed during the dispute. Exactly one month earlier, on August 2, Time Warner subscribers were blacked-out of several stations, including local programming. Millions of subscribers missed professional baseball games carried on CBS sports. With college football kicking-off and the National Football League ready to start the regular season, tensions were rising that fans in major markets like Dallas and New York weren’t going to be able to see their hometown teams.
Many experts were predicting that a deal would be made before the start of the NFL season to avoid revolution by die-hard NFL fans.
Alas, an agreement was announced on Monday, although terms weren’t disclosed. Programming began being resumed at 6:00 PM EDT on Monday, returning stations in affected markets, including Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel. The new deal includes retransmission consent as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, according to a statement from CBS.
Glenn Britt, Time Warner’s chairman and chief executive, said, “While we certainly didn’t get everything we wanted, ultimately we ended up in a much better place than when we started.”
CBS was asking for a massive increase in fees that they receive from companies like TWC for content, according to prior commentary from Time Warner. Britt’s comments sound like they essentially were forced to say “uncle” with CBS employing some serious leverage as a top-rated station for NFL games. It’s been reported that CBS president Leslie Moonves said CBS got virtually everything it wanted and that CBS retained its digital rights to content, something that Time Warner was fighting to attain.
Britt also thanked the consumer organizations and legislators that supported the company’s efforts to task Congress to make changes in outdated regulations that he blames for the blackout and for cable bills increasing. “We sincerely hope that policy makers heed that call and take action to prevent these unfortunate blackouts soon,” said Britt.
At least now Jets fans won’t have to adjust rabbit ears to see their quarterback carousel, the Cowboys faithful can see if DeMarco Murray can make it through a year unscathed and millions will get to see the “Manning Bowl” on September 15.