Turner, Cable One Reach Deal to End 25-Day Blackout

Operator said programmer was seeking nearly 50% hike in fees

Turner Broadcasting System and The Washington Post Co.’s Cable One late Friday said they had reached an agreement to restore TNT, TBS, CNN and other cablers to the operator’s 600,000 subscribers after dropping off the dial for 25 days.

The blackout was the first in Turner’s history. The fight was over money: Cable One claimed Turner was asking for a nearly 50% increase in fees.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, which is usual. “We’re pleased to be able to restore these channels to our customers, and appreciate their patience and loyalty,” Cable One CEO Tom Might said in a statement.

Cable One said it will credit customers $3.50 for the loss of Turner programming; the operator noted it does not normally do that. “Even though we have launched temporary replacement programming on some of these channels for most of our customers, we still wanted to offer this credit for your patience during this time,” the MSO said.

Turner said in a statement announcing the pact, “We value the relationships with our viewers and thank them for their understanding. We’re grateful for their continued loyalty and support for Turner’s programming and brands.”

The conflict came to a head after Cable One dropped six Turner channels — CNN, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, Turner Classic Movies, TruTV and Boomerang — on Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. Mountain after the previous carriage deal expired. Turner then ordered the cable operator to remove TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network from its systems, which Cable One had said was in retaliation for “us dropping their less popular programming.”

With the deal announced Friday, Cable One will resume carriage of nine Turner channels: CNN, CNN en Espanol, HLN, Turner Classic Movies, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, truTV and Boomerang. The process of restoring them may take several days to complete, the MSO said.

On Time Warner’s second quarter earnings call in August, CEO Jeff Bewkes said Turner subscriber revenue should see double-digit compound annual growth from 2013 to 2016 as the cable group seeks higher carriage fees from cable, satellite and telco TV operators. Turner reached a renewal with Verizon for FiOS TV earlier this month.

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