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(Reuters) - U.S. broadcaster CBS went dark for millions of Time Warner Cable subscribers on Friday in the nation's two largest markets and other cities after the cable operator and CBS Corp failed to reach an agreement over fees following weeks of contentious negotiations.

The blackout by Time Warner Cable of the No. 1-rated U.S. broadcast network followed an increasingly hostile and public battle between the two sides, which accused each other of making unreasonable demands in their talks over how much the cable operator will pay to carry CBS.

CBS hit back by suspending videos of full episodes on CBS.com for customers with Internet access provided by Time Warner Cable in the affected markets.

The network, home to hits such as "The Big Bang Theory" and "NCIS," is seen by an estimated 3.5 million customers in the affected markets, including the two biggest, New York and Los Angeles, and Dallas.

A source familiar with CBS' negotiating strategy said the company had offered to extend current terms and keep negotiating in the coming days. No new talks between the sides are scheduled, said the source who asked to be anonymous because the talks are private.

Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff said the operator offered a one-year extension before it blacked out the channels.

The companies issued dueling statements on Friday as Time Warner Cable began dropping CBS and its cable networks, including Showtime, from the company's systems in those markets.

The cable operator said it had agreed to extend talks until Tuesday morning but that CBS "refused to have a productive discussion."

"It's become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they're not willing to come to reasonable terms," said Huff. The company thanked customers for patience "as we continue to fight hard to keep prices down."

CBS shot back that Time Warner Cable "conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinkmanship and distorted public positioning."

The network "is eager to make an agreement in line with the kind it has struck with every other cable, satellite and telco provider, and has continually sought reasonable term extensions to get that job done," CBS said.

The threat of blackouts has become increasingly common as networks, which provide programming, square off against cable operators that pay "retransmission fees" to transmit those programs into living rooms around the country.

The battle with CBS, one of the industry's toughest negotiators, represented a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go dark and fight (retransmission) fees," BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said. "Time Warner had to do it," he said.

CBS is seeking a monthly fee of $2 per subscriber, said RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank, up from about $1 currently.

"Compared to others who get $1 per (subscriber)," they've (CBS) spent four to eight times as much on content," Bank said. "We think they'll prevail."

The loss of advertising dollars is relatively less painful during the summer, when networks air mostly reruns and audience numbers drop. This weekend, viewers will miss the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament, currently led by Tiger Woods. Later this week, they could lose out on sci-fi hit "Under the Dome" and reality show "Big Brother."

If the blackout persists into August, CBS could lose audiences in the some of the largest U.S. markets for reliably popular National Football League games.

In a message to customers, Time Warner Cable said it would temporarily offer programming from Starz Kids and Family as a replacement for CBS.

It added it would provide credits on upcoming bills for subscribers to Showtime or the TMC movie channel.

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Two horrible companies, surprised they haven't just bought each other out by now like Comacast did to NBC

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CBS shouldn't be allowed to charge for something other people can get for free. Time warner should be able to just place an antenna and give the feed to their customers. 

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CBS shouldn't be allowed to charge for something other people can get for free. Time warner should be able to just place an antenna and give the feed to their customers. 

 

While I don't agree with CBS either, do you really think TIme Warner will not try to make a profit off it? Do you think cable bills actually will do down? Hahahha... Here is a example of 2 greedy corp. that give a **** about one thing: money. Time Warner run full of greedy ******* with yearly hikes

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Comcast is one of the worst companies in America. Period.

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who pays for networks ... jeeze, throw up an antenna or get a free-to-air satellite setup and get the nets for free

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I don't know who is telling the truth with this situation: Time Warner claims that CBS wants a 600% increase and CBS says they only want a $1 increase.

 

But honestly, I don't care who is lying and who isn't. I love this. This kind of disruption only serves to benefit the customer (long term) because they'll find new ways of getting the content they want, specifically, Aereo.

 

Time Warner's Conversations website even specifically recommends using Aereo:

post-23147-0-01985500-1375562755.png

 

So I hope this last and pushes more people to becoming cord cutters, which will eventually lead to a larger online presence from content creators and distributors.

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Let the government take over TV. :p

 

The dispute may bring some government action. In New York, the City Council announced Saturday that it would convene hearings Thursday on the spat, demanding answers from both companies. "Television service should not be dependent on the whims of a bitter corporate standoff," said the council's speaker, Christine Quinn, who is also a leading candidate for mayor.

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It added it would provide credits on upcoming bills for subscribers to Showtime or the TMC movie channel.

 

 

So CBS want $2 per month per subscriber for the TMC and Movie channel?

 

Sounds reasonable as long as its ONLY the subscribers who watch those channels paying for them. Just add the $2 to anyone bill who wants to pay & watch them.

 

If its $2 for every cable subscriber Time Warner have, then tell CBS they are dreamin!

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I agree -- TV channels should be metered -- pay by the minute, for only what you watch. ;)

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So CBS want $2 per month per subscriber for the TMC and Movie channel?

 

Sounds reasonable as long as its ONLY the subscribers who watch those channels paying for them. Just add the $2 to anyone bill who wants to pay & watch them.

 

If its $2 for every cable subscriber Time Warner have, then tell CBS they are dreamin!

The problem is, that isn't the way cable works. CBS won't allow Time Warner to offer those channels el cart. Content creators like CBS, NBC, etc. sell these channels in bundles, which is why so many channels were pulled from TWC.

 

TWC is saying that CBS is demanding an increase from $2 to $7. For 3 million customers, that's an increase from $6 million to $21 million. You think TWC is going to eat that cost? No, the consumer will eat that, and then we get mad because of higher cable bills.

 

Let the government take over TV. :p

 

The dispute may bring some government action. In New York, the City Council announced Saturday that it would convene hearings Thursday on the spat, demanding answers from both companies. "Television service should not be dependent on the whims of a bitter corporate standoff," said the council's speaker, Christine Quinn, who is also a leading candidate for mayor.

 

How about no. How about keep the government out of it. This is a private matter that has nothing to do with the government, period.

 

If customers are unhappy that they can't watch crappy CBS, drop the service and switch to DirecTV or Dish, or OTA signals, be patient while it is worked out privately, or pick up a book and read. But keep the government out.

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They just had to pull this while Dexter is running  :cry:

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I always watch CBS on thursday night, because of comedy tv show are The Big Bang Theory, and Two and a half men.

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Unplugged. Got sick of Comcast, $120/mo plus for 500 channels where only about 25-30 were worth watching and the rest drek or infomercials. OTA, Amazon, Netflix and Hulu+ here. Cheaper and if we REALLY like a cable series I'll buy the seasonal DVD's or catch it online.

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nothing different than what Dish Network did with Fox and is still doing to all the networks as in fighting them for a cheaper fee although all of them are suing or trying to sue them cause of the Auto Hop and Hoppers features they have released.

 

I'd really like to see one of the networks win and have them send out a software update to kill those features off as they are pointless to 98% of the people that get them.

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I remember Dish Network tried to cancel lifetime channel in 2006, does anyone remember this too?

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nothing different than what Dish Network did with Fox and is still doing to all the networks as in fighting them for a cheaper fee although all of them are suing or trying to sue them cause of the Auto Hop and Hoppers features they have released.

 

I'd really like to see one of the networks win and have them send out a software update to kill those features off as they are pointless to 98% of the people that get them.

Uh, what?

 

Do you know what the Hopper does and why the networks are suing Dish? Because that last sentence suggests you don't. Why would you want the networks to win? Even if most people don't use it, that still doesn't explain why the networks should win?

 

Are you pro-network or pro-consumer? :rolleyes: 

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I don't think Time Warner can win this fight. People who want those CBS owned channels will go to someone who offers them. I would in a heartbeat. I have no loyalty to any of them.

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I don't think Time Warner can win this fight. People who want those CBS owned channels will go to someone who offers them. I would in a heartbeat. I have no loyalty to any of them.

But that's a limited choice. No other cable company can compete because of the monopoly utilities are allowed to have in most, if not all, states. So that leaves Dish or DirecTV. I've never heard good things about Dish, and I can attest to the craptastic service DirecTV offers. So options are limited.

 

The best bet, for those who don't have or want Showtime, or the Smithsonian channel (who does?), go with Aereo (in NYC).

 

Ultimately, this is a fight TWC has to win for customers. Not that they're in the right, I'm simply saying, for customers to keep their bill low, CBS has to lose.

 

An analyst I heard earlier today said CBS will lose $400,000 a day. Most of these blackouts last about 14 days, so that will cost them $5.6 million (if it does indeed go that long).

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orrr, how about content creators quite being greedy turds and allow people like me to build my own package with the channels I actually want to watch, not the crap that cable and satellite companies force me to watch!

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orrr, how about content creators quite being greedy turds and allow people like me to build my own package with the channels I actually want to watch, not the crap that cable and satellite companies force me to watch!

At least that would make it survival of the fittest for channels and probably force innovation.  There's so many channels on TV that the only way they get by is forcing cable companies and their subscribers to get them as part of a package.  Most don't even have good programming on.

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The biggest issue is, people like HBO, STARZ realize that their content is premium, so in order to get it, you have to hand over your first born child to afford their content as they intentionally put said content on the premium packages, which stinks really!

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The biggest issue is, people like HBO, STARZ realize that their content is premium, so in order to get it, you have to hand over your first born child to afford their content as they intentionally put said content on the premium packages, which stinks really!

 

It's like $15/month each, and after having had them for a period of time, I can easily say their programming is well worth the money.  It's almost always leagues ahead of cable programming, and it's because they have more money to work with.

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The biggest issue is, people like HBO, STARZ realize that their content is premium, so in order to get it, you have to hand over your first born child to afford their content as they intentionally put said content on the premium packages, which stinks really!

IMO it's worth it. I rarely watch regular cable broadcasting anymore. Most of my TV viewing is on the premium channels.

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I remember Dish Network tried to cancel lifetime channel in 2006, does anyone remember this too?

 

i remember in 2004 the dishnetwork vs viacom dispute where dish refused to pay 6 cents extra a day,and they dropped all viacom channels like mtv,bet,cbs,nickelodeon and a bunch of other stuff

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