Cable op’s customers nationwide lost access to premium cabler Friday, and CBS stations went dark in eight TW Cable markets
Time Warner Cable will extend credits to Showtime subscribers after the operator dropped the net Friday as part of the MSO’s contract battle with premium cabler’s parent CBS, but it will not credit customers for the Eye’s local TV stations that also went dark in New York, L.A., Dallas and elsewhere.
The operator’s customers who subscribe to Showtime and The Movie Channel will receive a credit retroactive to the first day of the blackout.
While the blackout is in effect, “as a courtesy, we are providing alternative programming from Starz and/or Encore” to Showtime customers, the MSO said.
CBS, however, is part of TW Cable’s basic programming package and “the pieces of that package change from time to time — sometimes we add channels, and sometimes we drop them,” Time Warner Cable rep Maureen Huff said. “We do not make it a policy to credit customers for any individual channel change, because the whole package continues to provide value.”
At around 5 p.m. Eastern Friday, Time Warner Cable removed CBS-owned stations in New York, L.A., Dallas and five other markets from customer lineups. It also dropped Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian services nationwide.
The blackouts came after weeks of contentious negotiations and several extensions to the companies’ previous agreement, struck in 2008. The chief sticking point is the rate increase CBS is asking for local TV stations: Time Warner Cable says the Eye is demanding 600% more than the operator pays other CBS affiliates, an assertion CBS called “fictional and ridiculous.”
According to Showtime, premium cabler had authorized TW Cable to continue carrying the channel while negotiations continued.
“Showtime has been working in good faith with Time Warner Cable to work out a contract, and is deeply disappointed with Time Warner Cable’s decision to pull Showtime channels,” network said in a statement.
Showtime is blacked out not only for Time Warner Cable customers, but also for subscribers of Bright House Networks, which has an arrangement with the larger operator to piggyback on its programming deals.
Meanwhile, CBS Sports issued an advisory Friday that Time Warner Cable subscribers in the affected local markets “will be deprived” of the Eye’s live the World Golf Championships: Bridgestone Invitational coverage beginning on Saturday, Aug. 3. In addition, broadcaster said those cable subs will miss CBS Sports’ coverage of the season’s final major, the PGA Championship beginning Thursday, Aug. 8, and continuing through final-round coverage on Sunday, Aug. 11.
In addition, CBS said Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York will miss the Aug. 9 NFL preseason game between the New York Jets at Detroit Lions and the Aug. 17 Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars matchup. The operator’s L.A. subs will miss the Aug. 5-6 Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals games on KCAL 9; the Aug. 8 San Diego Chargers vs. Seattle Seahawks game; the Aug. 13 Dodgers vs. New York Mets game; and Aug. 18 Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies game.
In Dallas-Ft. Worth, Time Warner Cable subscribers will miss games including the Aug. 2 Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics game on TXA 21, Aug. 9 Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders preseason game and the Aug. 9 Texas Rangers at Houston Astros game.