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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
witmer

Witmer

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)

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Mike
Mike
8 years ago

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… Read more »

Mileena
Mileena
8 years ago

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.

James Cieloha
James Cieloha
8 years ago

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… Read more »

Steevo
Steevo
8 years ago

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… Read more »

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