×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Warner Cable Handing Out Free TV Antennas, as CBS Blackout Stretches On

Cable company also offers affected subscribers $20 credit toward rabbit ears sold at Best Buy stores

Time Warner Cable is donning rabbit ears.

With the CBS blackout in key markets heading into a fourth week, the cable company is giving away free TV antennas to customers so they can watch the Eye.

The cable operator said Friday that it has a “limited quantity of basic indoor antennas” which customers may pick up for free at TW Cable retail locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas-Ft. Worth, where CBS is currently blacked out. It’s also offering free antennas in Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisc., where the MSO is engaged in a retrans dispute with Journal Broadcasting Group.

In addition, Time Warner Cable said it struck a partnership with Best Buy in those cities to provide customers a $20 credit toward the purchase of any in-stock broadcast antenna at select store locations.

SEE ALSO: CBS Consumer-Perception Score Goes Negative as Time Warner Cable Blackout Drags On

“We regret that CBS has put our customers in this position by continuing to withhold its channels,” Time Warner Cable said in an email message to customers Friday about the antenna offer. “We are trying to strike a balance between our desire to restore the channels as soon as possible and our responsibility to all of our customers to hold down the rising cost of TV.”

Time Warner Cable is limiting customers to one antenna each, while inventory lasts. Info on Time Warner Cable’s antenna program and Best Buy offer is available at twcconversations.com/antenna.

Other cable companies have given away antennas during past retrans outages. But the move is rich with irony, given that cable TV’s original reason for existence was to deliver television signals to households that couldn’t receive them.

Since Aug. 2, more than 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, L.A. and Dallas have been without CBS, when contract talks broke down between the companies. MSO also pulled Showtime and three other CBS-owned cablers, while CBS immediately retaliated by blocking Time Warner Cable’s broadband customers from accessing full-length eps online and via mobile apps.

SEE ALSO: Should the U.S. Government Ban TV Blackouts?

During the CBS blackout, the MSO also is offering the Starz Kids & Family premium channel on a temporary preview basis to subs and also is making the Tennis Channel available at no additional charge during the two weeks of the U.S. Open tennis tourney beginning Aug. 26. Time Warner Cable is offering a credit to Showtime subs retroactive to Aug. 2 but is not providing any rebate for the loss of CBS programming.

CBS is asking for a steep hike in retransmission fees, seeking upwards of $2 per subscriber per month from Time Warner Cable (versus 75 cents to $1 currently), according to analyst estimates.

The dispute also involves digital-streaming rights: Time Warner Cable wants to offer current and past-season CBS shows online — but the Eye claims the MSO is refusing to pay extra for those rights. CBS, like other programmers, sees healthy revenue upside through subscription VOD deals with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.com.

On Thursday, the Eye announced three-year pact with Verizon Communications to continue retransmission of CBS on FiOS TV. According to CBS topper Les Moonves, the deal the telco agreed to is virtually identical to the one CBS has offered Time Warner Cable.

More Biz

  • Tokyo Film Festival and Market Choose

    Tokyo Film Festival and Market Set Separate Dates in 2019

    The Tokyo International Film Festival and its accompanying rights market, TIFFCOM, will be held on separate dates this year. Some film executives may have to choose to attend one or the other. The film festival Wednesday announced that it will be held from Monday, Oct 28 to Tues, Nov. 5. Previously, the TIFFCOM market said [...]

  • Jeremy Vuernick

    Capitol Music Group Promotes Jeremy Vuernick to Executive VP of A&R

    Jeremy Vuernick has been promoted to Executive Vice President of A&R for Capitol Music Group, it was announced today by CMG COO Michelle Jubelirer and president Ashley Newton. In his elevated position, Vuernick will draw upon his broad experience as an A&R executive to sign and develop artists for the company, as well as oversee recording projects for new and [...]

  • Darnell Strom

    Darnell Strom to Lead UTA's Newly Created Culture and Leadership Division

    Darnell Strom has joined UTA and is set to lead its newly created Culture and Leadership division. Strom will represent and work with existing and new UTA clients who want to expand their diverse businesses and cultural influence at the intersection of entertainment, media, entrepreneurship, politics, the arts, and thought leadership. Strom brings years of [...]

  • Editorial use only. MANDATORY CREDIT: PARLIAMENTARY

    British Lawmakers Reject Prime Minister's Brexit Plan, Heightening Uncertainty

    British lawmakers have resoundingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s terms for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, heightening the country’s sense of uncertainty and paralysis less than two months before the exit is supposed to take effect. Parliament rejected May’s Brexit plan by a 432-202-vote Tuesday evening, one of the biggest parliamentary defeats in [...]

  • Dan Cohen nonesuch records

    Nonesuch Promotes Dan Cohen to Senior VP of Marketing

    Dan Cohen has been named Nonesuch Records’ senior vice president of marketing, the company announced today. In his new role, Cohen oversees marketing, sales, publicity, new media, and content creation for the long-running Warner Music Group label. Cohen reports to Nonesuch President David Bither and is based at the label’s headquarters in New York. Cohen [...]

  • hollywood debt

    Can Hollywood's Biggest Media Companies Avoid Getting Crushed by Debt?

    Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman-CEO, summoned all of his folksy Oklahoma earnestness as he made an enthusiastic pitch to Wall Street analysts about the telephone company’s bold efforts to transform itself into a multimedia powerhouse. It was late November, less than six months after AT&T had wrapped up its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. But [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content