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CBS: Time Warner negotiations “badly off course”

The logo of Time Warner Cable.
The logo of Time Warner Cable.

Negotiations between CBS and Time Warner Cable over retransmission fees have gone “badly off course,” an executive with CBS said on Thursday.

The comment was made at a hearing in New York City on Thursday as the two sides continue to negotiate terms that would restore several CBS local broadcast and cable offerings to Time Warner’s platform.

Time Warner removed CBS-operated local channels in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and several other markets last week, encouraging viewers to watch CBS programming with an antenna or online. Time Warner also removed CBS Sports, the Smithsonian Channel and the premium package Showtime.

In response, CBS blocked Time Warner internet customers from viewing full episodes of CBS shows on its website. The block affected all Time Warner internet customers, even those who do not subscribe to cable TV and those who live in cities where CBS does not operate local channels, a CBS spokesman confirmed to The Desk on Tuesday.

A Time Warner executive slammed CBS’s decision to block its broadband internet customers from viewing programming on the CBS website, calling the move “beyond the pale.”

On Thursday, Time Warner said it renewed an offer to carry CBS channels temporarily while the two sides hashed out an agreement. Time Warner said CBS turned down their offer, according to Reuters.

Time Warner has accused CBS of “coercive bundling practices,” and has in the past accused CBS of asking for a 600 percent increase in retransmission fees.

CBS claims Time Warner wants to secure the rights to some CBS programming for on-demand viewing without compensating the company. CBS accused Time Warner of attempting to collude against companies like Netflix and Amazon, which pay “millions of dollars” to distribute shows on demand from the CBS television archive.

CBS and Time Warner provided The Desk with copies of their prepared remarks delivered at Thursday’s hearing in New York.

CBS channels and on-demand programming have been unavailable to more than three million Time Warner Cable customers for one week.

Transcript: CBS executive’s prepared remarks at New York hearing on Thursday
Transcript: Time Warner executive’s prepared remarks at New York hearing on Thursday
CBS, Time Warner negotiations “badly off course”
The Desk: CBS blacks out video on website for Time Warner internet customers

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).