Cable operator says it will issue credits to Showtime subscribers affected by blackout
Time Warner Cable reiterated that it will not issue credits to 3 million-plus customers related to the blackout of CBS stations in New York, L.A. and Dallas — which is now in Day 11 — while it will credit Showtime subscribers who have lost the network.
But according to the cable company, the CBS stations in those markets are part of TW Cable’s basic programming package. The “pieces of that package change from time to time — sometimes we add channels, and sometimes we drop them,” according to rep for the cable company. “We do not make it a policy to credit customers for any individual channel change, because the whole package continues to provide value.”
Time Warner Cable customers who subscribe to Showtime and The Movie Channel — also affected by the companies’ dispute over retransmission fees and terms — will receive a credit retroactive to the first day of the blackout.
While the blackout is in effect, Time Warner Cable is providing alternative programming from Starz to Showtime customers, the MSO said.
On Aug. 2, Time Warner Cable pulled CBS signals for approximately 3 million subscribers, primarily in New York, L.A. and Dallas. The operator also dropped Showtime and three other CBS-owned cablers, while the Eye retaliated by blocking Time Warner Cable broadband subs from accessing full episodes online.
CBS could be losing as much as $400,000 per day in revenue and retransmission fees, according to Wall Street firm UBS.
In renegotiating the 2008 pact with Time Warner Cable, CBS is seeking higher retrans fees, arguing that the cable company pays the Eye less than other lower-watched cable networks.
Time Warner Cable’s position is that because CBS is asking for a large rate hike in retrans fees, the cable operator should retain access to a broad selection of on-demand content — including the ability to offer entire current and past seasons through VOD and “TV Everywhere” services. CBS has balked at that request because that would reduce the value of the content’s streaming rights, which company wants to sell to the likes of Netflix or Amazon.