×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Warner Cable Subscribers Sue Over CBS, Showtime Blackout

Class-action lawsuit seeks recovery of fees paid to Time Warner Cable for programming blacked out since Aug. 2 in dispute with the Eye

Three Time Warner Cable customers in Southern California have filed a class-action lawsuit against the cable company over the blackout of CBS, Showtime, The Movie Channel and KCAL — now in its 13th day — demanding to get refunds for the loss of the channels.

Time Warner Cable’s “inter-contractual disputes with content providers is not something that should be passed on to consumers,” according to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Time Warner Cable: Still No Credits for Loss of CBS Stations

The suit, seeking recovery of fees paid to Time Warner Cable for the blacked-out programming, was filed in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles. Plaintiffs James Armstrong, Michael Pourtemour and Vatsana Bilavarn accuse Time Warner Cable of engaging in unlawful and unfair business practices.

Time Warner Cable declined to comment.

Previously, the cable company said it would issue credits to Showtime subscribers retroactive to Aug. 2, the first day of the blackout. However, Time Warner Cable said CBS stations are part of the basic programming package, and that it is not the company’s policy to credit customers for any individual channel change, “because the whole package continues to provide value.”

According to the lawsuit, “An unspecified future credit has been promised (by Time Warner Cable), but to date, no such credit has been posted to the accounts of Plaintiffs.”

The 2008 pact between CBS and Time Warner Cable expired June 30. After a series of deadline extensions, the companies were still unable to reach terms on a new contract — and on Aug. 2, more than 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, L.A. and Dallas lost access to CBS-owned stations. In addition, Time Warner Cable removed Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian Channel from lineups nationwide.

The class-action suit filed Wednesday alleges that Time Warner Cable offered new subscribers six free months of Showtime as an incentive to sign up even though the operator was “aware of its dispute and/or the potential for a dispute with CBS/Showtime.” Two of the plaintiffs — Armstrong and Pourtemour — are Showtime subscribers, while the third, Bilavarn, “would not have subscribed to TWC if she had been advised that free channels would not be part of the subscription services.”

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

Time Warner Cable is offering Showtime subs replacement programming from Starz and Encore, but the lawsuit says that is “not a reasonable substitute for programming blacked out, as it does not include a fungible offering of programs relative to CBS and Showtime.” The complaint notes that the two plaintiffs who are Showtime subscribers have been unable to watch “Dexter” and “Ray Donovan” during the blackout, and cites the loss of CBS programming including “Big Brother,” NFL games and the PGA Championship.

Plaintiffs are repped by L.A.-based law firm Weintraub & Selth. Lawsuit seeks class-action standing on behalf of all “similarly situated subscribers of Time Warner Cable.”

Separately, in June four Southern California pay TV subscribers filed a class-action suit against Time Warner Cable over the MSO’s estimated $11 billion in programming rights deals with the Dodgers and the Lakers. That suit alleges that because of those pacts, subscribers in the region will be forced to pay $4 to $5 per month extra for regional sports networks as part of expanded basic cable packages, without any opportunity to opt out.

More Biz

  • Chinese Movie Ticket Giant Maoyan Loses

    Losses Reach $20 Million at China's Maoyan

    Reporting its first financial data since a February IPO in Hong Kong, mainland Chinese movie ticketing firm Maoyan saw its revenue grow by 47% to $560 million (RMB3.76 billion) in 2018. Net losses for the year grew from $11.3 million (RMB76 million) to $20 million (RMB134 million). Though the company also chose to present what [...]

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Wynn Nightlife Announces Residency for Roving

    Wynn Las Vegas to Host Residency for Roving Spanish Party Elrow

    One of Las Vegas’ biggest music players is doubling down on the power of a global brand instead of just a single DJ to help them stay on top of Sin City’s increasingly competitive clubbing scene. Wynn Nightlife has announced a year-long residency and partnership with Spain’s Elrow, a respected Ibiza-born party that last year [...]

  • PledgeMusic Down to a ‘Skeleton Staff,’

    PledgeMusic Down to a ‘Skeleton Staff,’ Although a Potential Buyer Is in the Wings

    PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan marketplace that has faced serious financial troubles in recent months, is down to a “skeleton staff” and payroll in the U.S. office ceased within the last month, sources close to the situation tell Variety, although a potential buyer is “very interested” in the company and has been in due diligence for several [...]

  • Michael Avenatti

    Michael Avenatti Arrested on Bank Fraud and Extortion Charges

    Attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested Monday and is facing federal charges on both coasts of bank fraud, misappropriating client funds, and trying to extort Nike. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege that Avenatti tried to extract more than $20 million from Nike, and said that if the company did not pay him, [...]

  • Daily Show Viacom

    DirecTV, Viacom Avert Blackout After Marathon Negotiation

    DirecTV and Viacom have agreed on a carriage renewal pact covering a raft of Viacom’s cable channels after a marathon negotiation over the weekend. In a joint statement early Monday, the companies said: “We are pleased to announce a renewed Viacom-AT&T contract that includes continued carriage of Viacom services across multiple AT&T platforms and products. [...]

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content