Time Warner Cable Taking Bigger Hit Than CBS in PR War Over Blackout: Survey

Time Warner Cable Taking Bigger Hit

Cable operator’s consumer-perception score drops lower into negative territory while the Eye has neutral rating, according to YouGov

Consumers have increasingly negative views of both Time Warner Cable and CBS in the wake of the companies’ contract dispute — which has left the Eye’s stations dark for cable customers in New York, L.A. and Dallas since last Friday — but the operator is faring worse in the court of public opinion, according to a new survey.

Time Warner Cable’s perception score from April through the beginning of July fluctuated between minus-2 and zero, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex consumer-perception research service. After the fight with CBS became public, Time Warner Cable’s score fell from just below zero to minus-7 as of Monday, Aug. 5. The BrandIndex score is a weighted metric (ranging from minus-100 to 100) indicating relative positive or negative perception.

CBS’s reputation has also suffered from the feud. Its score was between 2 and 3 in early July, before falling to a neutral score of zero as of Monday, YouGov found.

At about 5 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 2, Time Warner Cable removed CBS stations in Gotham, L.A., Dallas and five other smaller markets, after the companies could not agree on retransmission terms. The operator also removed Showtime and other CBS-owned cablers, while the Eye retaliated by blocking TW Cable broadband subs from accessing full-length episodes on CBS.com and mobile apps.

SEE ALSO: Did CBS Blackout on Time Warner Cable Boost Piracy of ‘Under the Dome’?

Time Warner Cable has claimed CBS is asking for more than 600% over what the MSO pays other CBS affiliates — a claim the Eye called “fictional and ridiculous.” CBS says it is entitled to higher fees, arguing that it receives less from Time Warner Cable than lower-rated cablers.

Time Warner Cable, in a public-relations ploy, said it would end the blackout by either continuing carriage under previous terms or offering CBS a la carte to customers. CBS rejected the cable operator’s offer as a “sham,” saying “the economics and structure of the cable industry doesn’t work that way and isn’t likely to for quite some time.”

In contrast to CBS and Time Warner Cable, Showtime has maintained a positive score of 6 — before and after the blackout, according to YouGov’s survey.

The YouGov BrandIndex is based on a daily online survey of 4,000 adults 18 and older with a representative mix of the U.S. population. The survey for CBS, Time Warner Cable and Showtime asked respondents: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

Neither CBS nor Time Warner Cable is a client of London-based YouGov.

The last public retrans fight between a major broadcaster and cable operator occurred in October 2010, when Fox went dark on Cablevision Systems just before the World Series. Like Time Warner Cable, consumers already perceived Cablevision negatively before the blackout, and perception worsened by the time the dispute ended in late October, according to YouGov — while the perception of Fox rose following the standoff.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 25

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. rockerrick says:

    I have attempted to rid myself of Time Warner. However, in Columbus, Ohio, WOW services are currently overwhelmed by patrons seeking a new provider that they can not keep up! I have been “stood up” three times waiting for a WOW tech that never arrived. Time Warner sucks the big one for depriving me of Dexter and R. Donovan but I can’t get rid of them because of the “angry mob” in line ahead of me!

  2. Jeanne Marlowe says:

    we live in an are where there is zero tv reception. we are prisoners of the cable networks. it’s only a preference as to which horrible package you pay for from whoever provider. then they pull this stunt? stop the world I wanna get ott!

  3. Jeanne Marlowe says:

    who gave cbs the right to power out the tv shows the customers pay for?

  4. This is total BS. The one reason we should have more than one choice for such a utility. No monopolies…

  5. That CBS is responsible for blocking internet access to CBS’ content was not known, and the way the graphics are displayed it sure looks like TWC is to blame. I do not think the FCC cannot stoke the fires more and since Ms. Clyburn is in a position to return the FCC to its regulatory prominence, as it has been a tool of the NAB since the Reagan years. She would be well advised to get involved.

  6. PJF says:

    I would feel sorry for CBS but blocking all TW internet users from their content is going to far. I don’t live in a blacked out area nor do I even buy TWC (internet only). Screw you CBS.

  7. FH says:

    TW does not have the right to charge customers for channels we are not getting. Where is the FCC? Where is the PUC?

  8. Larry says:

    OK you idiots. Why do we have to suffer because you jerks can not reach terms. CBS should not have pulled their programs during negotations but continue showing programs and make any reimbursement on either side part of their agreement. Put CBS back on TW now. This is totally unacceptable. Big corporations suck.

  9. Frank Gagliano says:

    BOTH players represent the worst in American business. BOTH are corrupt and neither has the interests of the consumer in mind… BOTH companies represent American greed and how to pimp the system at its finest. Consumers should punish both by taking their business elsewhere.

    • As we consumers have no seat at the negotiating table it is up to government to represent our interests. However, the law is written so that one of the two parties involved in the negotiating process must complain about the other for the FCC to engage, no matter how many consumers complain about being ripped off. So even the lawmakers think consumers are sh!t and not worth mentioning in the law. P.S. – I complained to the FCC and they told me go buy an antenna!! Your tax dollars at work!

  10. P. Simpson says:

    This is prime twc…They claim to be fighting for their customers, but they haven’t given a damn since they took over this franchise. They have raised their rates every year, even during the recent economic downturn when increases in the cost of living were non-existent. And earned themselves a well deserved #2 in the most hated companies in the country…All they want to do is line their greedy pockets…they should go into banking, or used car sales and increase their ill-gotten gains. They can’t even get their ‘story’ straight between their telephone & ‘chat’ agents….

  11. Jim Grana says:

    I have been a Time Warner customer since 2008. They took over for Adelphia when they went under. I have the best package TWC offers. It includes all of the major cable channels. Our monthly invoice is over $235.00. I am so disgusted with them. They should have kept Showtime and TMC until all negotiations were decided one way or another. Being in Maine we have no other option for cable service. I ask ‘why doesn’t COMCAST have the same situation that we are living with? It is disgusting to know that Dexter and Ray Donovan are not available. We have over 100 various channels to watch. Most of them I couldn’t care less about, but, alas, it comes with the package. Isn’t TWC really nice to now offer $4.00 to the subscribers that are having the blackout? Give me back what I am paying a bundle for! Get off the pot!

  12. MonikkaMarie Jackson says:

    Your article mentions “At about 5 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 2, Time Warner Cable removed CBS stations in Gotham, L.A., Dallas and five other smaller markets”. Is New York City a “smaller market”? By whose standards? WE have been blacked out for over a week. No Showtime, no CBS. In place of CBS, we have a premium channel kiddie station. Not only does our house already subscribe to the premium channel, but we have no kids, and have no desire to see Spy Kids or The Country Bears instead of 60 Minutes, NCIS, or Person of Interest. The Mister had to go to his brother to see preseason football, and he can only take so much of his brother. I think we are too done with Time Warner and their greed.

    • Anthony Cole says:

      $4.00 You are lucky. they are rebating me a lousy $2.14 cents. and I am paying $172/mo I am fast leaning for NO cable at all.

  13. Tim says:

    Something others should consider when jumping for a carrier other than TWC:If CBS wins, then what will happen when the other carriers have to renew their contracts with CBS? Will this blackout be repeated on AT&T, or Dish?

    As for CBS, remember that NBC was once on top. What will happen when some of your long-running hits end? If you end up following NBC’s path, will you give the carriers rebates?

  14. Sherry says:

    This is the deal. I pay CBS NOTHING but I pay a hefty bill to TW every month. In exchange, I am supposed to get certain services including access to CBS. I have a contract with TW. I have no contract with CBS. If I decided TW was charging too much and started short paying my bill, would that be okay with TW? They DO charge too much, their “packages” and pricing is manipulative and their service is mediocre. I am not responsible for TW’s of doing business. Dragging the viewers into this is inappropriate. Really? HE HIT ME FIRST? I intend to give up TW because of this issue. It’s about a lot more than CBS.

    • Frank Gagliano says:

      The entire system is corrupt with greed… All players are to blame, including the consumer. If people would quit supporting these companies and quit their outrageously overpriced services, prices would drop immediately. Unfortunately, the consumer pays, pays, and pays. The biggest insult is when I pay for these services only to find that many, many channels are dedicated to infomercials… where’s the quality programming? Where’s the entertainment? CBS, Viacom, TWC… JUST GO AWAY!

  15. Frank Gagliano says:

    Within a universe of thousands of entertainment choices featuring hundreds of cable and satellite channels, on-demand, video games, the Internet, streaming services, access to tens of thousands of radio stations, you tube, etc… CBS programming is less and less relevant with each passing day. Mr. Moonves needs to realize it’s not 1968 and CBS is no longer the Tiffany Network. Does anyone really believe consumers would be terribly upset if CBS were to cease to exist. I, for one, believe the world would be a better place without trash programming like Two Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, Shameless, Jersey Shore, MTV, and all of the other near pornographic garbage produced by this company. TWC should charge CBS to carry their programming, without distribution CBS would have quite a time trying to sell it’s advertising inventory.

  16. Ted Trent says:

    They are both going to wake up soon and realize, NO ONE CARES!

  17. Julie K. says:

    I’m sick of this crap!!! both sides are acting juvenile. this fight should not be done in public. they need to come to a resolution NOW! I have been reading that talks keep breaking down. hash it out, for the costumers
    I want my channels back now!

  18. Karen says:

    I want a refund for the Showtime that is being blocked & I’m paying for.

  19. Whatevs..... says:

    Don’t care for CBS anymore since my favorite character left(Ziva David) NCIS -meh- and plus, I go out for major NFL games.

  20. Ron says:

    Hopefully these big-market consumers will plop down $30 at Radio Shack and hook an antenna to their TV’s

    • Watergate Mike says:

      Spent most of yesterday afternoon hooking up an “HDTV Ready” antenna and achieved nothing but snow. Got snow, snow, and more snow. Double-checked the antenna’s relationship to my HDTV and TV antenna input was set for “air.” BTW, in the pre-digital-only era, I signed on to “Sterling Manhattan Cable TV” – cost $13/month in 1978 for the standard package – now owned by Time-Warner Cable – cost $158 for the “standard” package. The reason I signed on in 1978 is New York’s architectural obstructions practically MANDATE that you have cable. Even satellite subscribers have problems, and after spending yesterday failing at getting my HDTV to produce an over-the-air image I just want to tell the FCC this: STOP TELLING TWC CUSTOMERS “ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BUY AN ANTENNA” WHEN YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE SPENT YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IN THE SUBURBS AND KNOW NOTHING OF AN URBAN ANTENNA’S INABILITY TO SURMOUNT THE URBAN OBSTRUCTIONS! (This is what comes from hiring middle-middle and upper-middle class suburb-raised government bureaucrats to communicate “the message” to the complaining public.) YOU have a P-Oed public and you are not responding properly. I have a message for you: TRY ANOTHER LINE OF WORK! YOU OBVIOUSLY DO NOT KNOW ENOUGH OF COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP THIS COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION JOB!

    • MonikkaMarie Jackson says:

      I’m in a building where taller buildings ruin antenna signals. Even before cable, some channels were just ghosty. For the same reason, satellite isn’t an option. What we need is to do away with cable monopolies, where you only have a choice of 2 carriers or satellite, but that would mean that the FCC and politicians would be influenced by the needs of consumers, not lobbyists with big checks.

More Biz News from Variety