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Time Warner Cable: Our Condolences to Verizon if They Signed the CBS Deal We Rejected

Phillip Dampier August 28, 2013 Consumer News, Online Video, Video 5 Comments


If what Time Warner Cable claims is true, the stalemate that has kept CBS content away from subscribers for four weeks may be less about the money and more about CBS’ desire to control your viewing experience.

Melinda Witmer, TWC’s chief video and content officer, reports CBS is demanding daunting new restrictions in their proposed renewal contract, including requiring customers to “register their television sets” with CBS before being able to turn them on.

Witmer said CBS’ demands also include new powers over DVR capabilities, which means CBS could possibly prevent customers from fast-forwarding through commercials or even block the recording and/or storage of certain programs without network permission.

“CBS announced that they signed a deal with Verizon (FiOS TV) and has suggested that they offered us the same deal Verizon just signed,” Witmer said. “All I can say is our condolences to Verizon if they signed the deal CBS put in front of us. I hope for Verizon’s sake that they didn’t sign that, but if they did I’m glad for us because we’ll compete that much better against them when we finish our deal.”

Cable operators are seeking expanded rights from programmers as customer viewing habits evolve. Among the most important are those that would allow online and on-demand streaming of programming to authenticated cable subscribers.

Time Warner Cable has invested considerable resources in its online viewing platforms for PC’s, smartphones, and tablets, providing most of the TWC lineup on those portable devices. But the service has been largely limited in-home viewing because the cable company is having trouble securing permission to stream most of that content for those on the go.

Time Warner Attempts to Placate Impacted Customers

twcAlthough Time Warner Cable is crediting customers for the loss of Showtime/The Movie Channel, blocked by the cable operator while the impasse continues, Time Warner is not giving any automatic refunds for the loss of CBS basic or broadcast programming and networks taken off the cable dial. CBS-owned Smithsonian TV is the most affected basic cable channel nationwide. Some customers who pay extra for Smithsonian as part of an added-cost HD Tier often known as “TWCHD Pass” have gotten service credits upon request.

Time Warner Cable is giving out free over-the-air antennas to customers in cities where local CBS-owned stations have been taken off the cable lineup.

Time Warner Cable has a limited quantity of free basic indoor antennas available for customers at TWC retail locations in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Los Angeles/Desert Cities, New York City, Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisc. In addition, TWC has partnered with Best Buy in those cities to provide $20 toward the purchase of any in-stock broadcast antenna at select Best Buy store locations. The cable company has published a list of retail locations where antennas are available as long as supplies last. Limit one per customer and installation is your responsibility.

Radio Shack has also taken advantage of the situation by slashing prices on an AntennaCraft Amplified Omnidirectional HDTV Antenna, now available online for $37.49 – a 25 percent discount. Best Buy is supporting Time Warner Cable’s position in the CBS dispute. Radio Shack is not, telling customers its antennas make it easy to “cut the cable.”

Time Warner is appeasing tennis fans with enhanced coverage of the 2013 US Open Tennis Championship Series with a free preview of The Tennis Channel running Aug. 26 through Sept. 9.

The blackout is also keeping Time Warner Cable, Bright House, and Earthlink (supplied by either cable operator) broadband customers from watching CBS content online.

If you now receive this channel Here’s how your Time Warner Cable video service is impacted
CBS from NYC, LA, Dallas-Ft Worth, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh -The CBS channel has been removed from your lineup
-CBS Primetime on Demand is now unavailable
-StartOver and LookBack services on all CBS-owned stations are unavailable
CBS from any city other than the ones listed above -CBS Primetime on Demand is now unavailable
-StartOver and LookBack services on local CBS affiliate stations are unavailable
Flix Flix is now unavailable
The Movie Channel The Movie Channel and The Movie Channel on Demand are now unavailable; TWC is providing replacement programming from Encore on a temporary preview basis–look in your guide for channel numbers.
Showtime Showtime, all its associated multiplex channels, and Showtime on Demand are now unavailable; TWC is providing replacement programming from Starz on a temporary preview basis–look in your guide for channel numbers.
Smithsonian Channel Smithsonian and Smithsonian on Demand are now unavailable

The Federal Communications Commission said it is trying to resolve the fee dispute from Washington.

“The commission is engaged at the highest levels with the respective parties and working to bring the impasse to an end,” Justin Cole, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “We urge all parties to resolve this matter as quickly as possible so consumers can access the programming they rely on and are paying for.”

But acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn also admitted the FCC has few powers to intervene and compel an agreement.

[flv width=”640″ height=”380″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/TWC Melinda Witmer on CBS Blackout 8-24-13.flv[/flv]

Time Warner Cable’s Melinda Witmer, head of the team negotiating with CBS, suggests the network is demanding unprecedented control over your viewing experience — a deal breaker for the cable operator.  (6 minutes)

Currently there are 5 comments on this Article:

  1. Mike says:

    You know, the local broadcasters and the networks could put an end to much of this nonsense in a big hurry. All they would have to do is follow the lead of many AM and FM broadcasters and start streaming their signals 24/7, including network programming. Many already do it for newscasts and live feeds, but their contracts with the networks prevent it.

    I don’t know about anyone else but I find myself actively watching less television. By that I mean, I will continue to tune into shows I’m already watching, but a new show has to have exceptional appeal to me before I will even consider watching it. And if I miss the first show, more than likely I will just wait until the entire season is available on Netflix or DVD, and then binge watch it over the course of a week or so, assuming I am even still interested in the show at that point (and I probably won’t be). Not only do I enjoy it a lot more that way, but I do not have to put up with network bugs and other broadcaster-induced graffiti spoiling the nice clean picture, and of course there are no ads and no interruptions due to silly contract disputes.

    The broadcasters and TV networks just don’t seem to get it that they are committing suicide in the slowest and most painful way possible. The ability to carry live sports is about the only thing they still have going for them (only for those interested in sports) and someday the leagues are going to figure out that they have other options. You see the trend with landline telephones – I wish broadcasters would take a good, hard look at that and realize that people hated the phone companies 20 years ago the way people hate many TV providers now. When they look at landlines, they are staring at their own future in maybe five or ten years, if not sooner.

    Even if I only had access to YouTube I could find plenty to watch, and a lot of it would be far more interesting to me than 98% of what the networks and local broadcasters are showing. And so far I haven’t heard of anything coming in the new TV season that is so compelling that I simply must watch it as it is aired. More and more, watching network TV is something that I only do if I have absolutely nothing else to do, not something I look forward to.

  2. Mileena says:

    Very interesting, if this is true. I definitely don’t want any content provider having control over what I can or can not do with my DVR. My household practically never watches live TV, and we always skip commercials- and we like it that way.

  3. James Cieloha says:

    Every Time Warner Cable customer should be ashamed of CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves for this blackout that result in the viewers from being able to watch their favorite shows with Time Warner Cable.

    This is an excuse for CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves wanting to try to be way too big being the Wal-Mart’s, the Marlboro’s, the Joe Camel’s, the Paramount Pictures with the movie theater chain of the 1940’s, the Morris Levy’s when he was part of Roulette Records, the Clive Davis’s when he was at Columbia Records in the 1970′s, the Neil Bogart’s of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970′s disco era, the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s, the David Smith (one of the Smith brothers from Sinclair Broadcast Group), the Perry Sock and the Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the Harry Pappas as part of the Pappas Telecasting Companies, the Bernard Madoff’s, the Enron’s, the Worldcom’s, the Adelphia’s, the Tyco’s, the Martha Stewart’s, the Jill Kelley’s, the Orie sister’s, the Teresa and Joe Giudice’s, and the Jesse Jackson Jr’s, of the 2000′s by letting broadcast greed get out of control so all of the head employees and bosses including Leslie Moonves at CBS to be able to enjoy carefree lavishly spending to support carefree lavishly lifestyles with luxurious homes, luxurious jets, luxurious cars, luxurious furs, luxurious jewelry, join luxurious clubs, go on to luxurious vacations, go to luxurious bars, go to luxurious hotels, go to luxurious casinos to do gambling, go to horse races, throw luxurious parties, and have other luxurious items just to make them very happy then trying and willingness to improve the quality of all the stations they owned and control and making the viewers happy as well. I hope and I wish that CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves get scolded by both by the ACA and the FCC for making the viewers being forced to deal with this blackout because they could not make a deal to get the stations back to it’s customers sooner and with a fair deal with Time Warner Cable. I hope and I wish that CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves is barred from continuance of ownership of it’s owned and operated stations and buying and owning anymore TV stations in the future after their final decision to remove the stations from Time Warner Cable. I feel that CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves are trying to bribe like the Vietnam War, the General Tire/RKO General of the 1960′s and 1970′s, and the Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s by not being very honest of not only the viewers by making them miss the shows on Time Warner Cable and also on themselves with the force of demanding Time Warner Cable to pay up in the retransmission consent to continue to carry the stations.

    I hope and I wish that the FCC would force CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves to allow Time Warner Cable to carry it’s stations without any interference, in the event CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves fails to allow Time Warner Cable to carry it’s stations again, then the FCC would force CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves to allow Time Warner Cable to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, in the event CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves fails to allow Time Warner Cable to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, then the FCC would allow Time Warner Cable to carry the out of market station with the same affiliation without any restrictions and also be allowed to continue to carry the out of market station that it’s digital television signal is reachable by a outdoor antenna including both it’s SD and HD feeds on the Time Warner Cable service system even after the dispute is over without any interference for 12 whole years to meet FCC rules and regulators.

    This is an excuse for CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves wanting to be too big being way too busy trying to act like the Baauer’s, the PSY’s, the Carly Rae Jepsen’s, the Tay Allyn’s, the Nicole Westbrook’s, the Rebecca Black’s, the Double Take’s, and the Guns N Roses Axl Rose as well as trying to be the Conrad Murray’s, the Pete Rose’s and the Alex Rodriguez’s as the cheaters, the Jerry Sandusky’s as the assaulters, the Jodi Arias’s, the Casey Anthony’s, the Charles Starkweather’s, the Charles Manson’s, the Lyle and Erik Menendez’s, the O. J. Simpson’s, the Scott Peterson’s, and the Drew Peterson’s as the greedy murderers, the Alfonzo Dennard’s, the Jeremy Dobbe’s, the Jeffrey Ireland’s, the Amanda Bynes’s and the Lindsay Lohan’s as the drunk and the drug abusers, the Rodney Dangerfield’s, the John Belushi’s, and the Chris Farley’s as the comedians, (all real life people) the Gordon Gekko’s, the Victoria Grayson’s, the Victor Newman’s/the Jack Abbott’s, the J. R. Ewing’s/the Cliff Barnes’s, the Charles Montgomery Burn’s/ the Mayor Quimby’s, the Homer and Bart Simpson’s, the Peter Griffin’s, the Mickey Mouse’s/the Minnie Mouse’s, the Bugs Bunny’s/the Daffy Duck’s/the Porky Pig’s, the Garfield cat’s, the Cookie Monster’s, the Miss Piggy’s, and the Pillsbury Doughboy’s, (all fictional characters) of the broadcasting industry of not coming to reach a deal with Time Warner Cable to carry it’s stations to the viewers with Time Warner Cable everyday.

    This is an excuse for CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves trying to turn into the 1919 Chicago White Sox’s baseball team and the Southern Methodist University football team of the 1980′s to force Time Warner Cable to accept a take it or leave it deal to carry it’s stations. I urge all of the viewers with Time Warner Cable to boycott CBS and all of their head executives including Leslie Moonves right now for making the Time Warner Cable viewers suffer from being able to watch their favorite shows in a big huge ugly game of baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw baw chicken.

    I also encourage all Time Warner Cable customers to boycott all the big head executives at Time Warner Cable including Glenn Britt and Robert Marcus and video executive Melinda Witmer.

    Cable and satellite are useful for carrying stations to inform viewers for news and weather reports and also for all minories. I feel that all of the fat cat politicians and the fat cat television broadcast station owner and parent want to see and force all of the cable and satellite operators to pay up a lot more money for the rights to carry local stations so all of the fat cat politicians and the fat cat television broadcast station owner and parent can have carefree lavish spending to fully support their endless greedy piggish selfish lavish lifestyles for their own political gain by way of block booking and extortion is so very shameful and so very disgraceful in my own personal opinion and theory. I feel all the today’s fat cat politicians have never learned from various scandals happening in the past. Have those fat cat broadcasters and fat cat politicians learned from the Paramount Pictures practice of block booking with theatrical theatres of the 1940’s, No, the Vietnam War, No, the General Tire/RKO General broadcasting license scandal of the 1960’s and the 1970’s, No, the Watergate scandal with Richard Nixon’s involvement, No, the Southern Methodist University football scandal of the 1980’s, No, the Pete Rose betting scandal in baseball of the late 1980’s, No. These are examples of what I feel that all of the fat cat broadcasters and the fat cat politicians are trying to do to attack cable and satellite providers to pressure them to carry stations with the use of retransmission consent.

    I feel that all of the broadcasters and broadcasting groups including Sinclair with David Smith, Nexstar with Perry Sook, Gannett, Tribune, Young, Cordillera, Pappas with Harry Pappas, Stainless/Northwest with Brian Brady and other too many to think of having the supreme dominance of forcing cable and satellite by the use of block booking in the cable industry by barring them from carrying out of market stations by only allowing them to carry their in market stations including cable systems being in markets where the in market stations is further than the out of market station that is closer to the cable system by air miles.

    People may not agree with my opinion and theory to retransmission consent buy my fear is that i feared broadcasters and broadcasting groups may abuse and misuse the retransmission consent payment option to cable/satellite/Aereo as a way for all the head executives from those broadcasting companies to use it on their habit of lavish spending to support their greedy piggish selfish lavish lifestyles just to make all of them happy than trying to improve the quality of all the television stations they own and manage.

    I encourage every cable/satellite/Aereo subscribers to join me in the fight against retransmission consent abuse:




    Sorry for the inconvience for updating the same opinion and theory to the CBS Time Warner Cable dispute.

  4. Steevo says:

    Why the heck should CBS or any other OTA broadcaster be able to control where their “free TV signal goes?

    If I want to hire TWC, Verizon or Aereo to provide an antenna for me it should not be CBS’ business.

    No fair if TWC strips commercials from the CBS feed and inserts their own, but as long as they pick up the signal with nothing more than an antenna and send it to their subscribers the way they got it neither CBS nor any other broadcaster with a spectrum license should have any control or receive any money from anyone for their programming. It’s ad supported. BTW, if they want me to watch their ads I would do it for $4200 a month. I sure would not watch their ads for free.

    Once they broadcast it over the public airwaves in the public interest they should lose control of that signal completely.

    That’s the problem that the FCC or congress should address. Ya broadcast it, you lose it.

    If CBS wants to control their signal they should give up their broadcast licenses to someone else who will operate in the public interest and go cable only. Then they can control who can see their programming and on what terms. They can charge for it if they want, or they can keep it all to themselves and not let anyone see it.

    This whole concept where broadcasters are being paid by TWC and others for their *free TV* signal is just outrageous.

    I guess you are realizing by now that IMHO the *must carry* doctrine made more sense than this!

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