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TW in scrap with Colombia cablers

TBS yanks channels off air on Monday

HOLLYWOOD — Colombia has become another battleground for a dispute between a Time Warner unit and local cablers.

Colombian pay TV body TVPC pulled the plug on Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TNT on Sunday after the collapse of talks to cut carriage fees.

Although TVPC said it would delay the cancellation of CNN Intl., CNN en Espanol and CNN Finance until Friday to give their combined 900,000 subs the chance to see the U.S. election results, TBS yanked them off air on Monday.

TVPC represents 90% of the pay TV market and was angling for a volume discount from TBS. It had successfully renegotiated carriage fees with ESPN and Fox for their channels.

“While the rest of Latin American subcribers pay monthly fees of $20 for a basic cable service, Colombian subs pay between $7 and $9,” TVPC spokeswoman Carolina Pena pointed out.

TVPC is looking for other channels to fill the void.

Luis Bolio, TBS Latin America’s senior VP of affiliate sales and marketing, claimed TVPC inflated the sub numbers of its member cablers. Pena denied the charges. “We formed this association precisely to establish a greater transparency in our business,” she said.

Bolio did not discard the possibility of returning to the negotiating table with the org.

Last month, Time Warner’s HBO Latin America halted distribution of HBO and its other channels in Argentina on Multicanal after claiming the country’s second biggest cabler failed to fight piracy.

A week later, Argentina’s antitrust department ordered HBO to restore its 10 channels. HBO has yet to appeal the ruling.

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