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CBS and Time Warner reach deal, Web access blackout to end

Lasting more than a month, the CBS blackout on Time Warner has finally come to an end after both companies reached an agreement regarding the negotiation of retransmission fees. Time Warner subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas should have regained access to CBS as well as Showtime, The Movie Channel (TMC), Flix, and the Smithsonian Channel at 6 p.m. Eastern Time today. This agreement comes at an ideal time for NFL fans since regular season games start next week and six of those games will be aired by CBS next Sunday. In addition, the new deal will include access to Showtime Anytime video-on-demand services for viewers in the blackout areas.   

cbs-buildingBeyond the return of those channels to the Time Warner lineup, CBS will lift the ban on Time Warner Internet subscribers when it comes to episodes and clips available for streaming on CBS.com.

After the blackout commenced during late July, CBS had previously responded by displaying a call-to-action graphic for Time Warner customers on CBS.com in order to encourage subscribers to call Time Warner and complain about the lack of access. 

It’s likely that both sides of the negotiation felt pressure to bring this spat to an end, especially with the Fall television season starting during September. While CBS was negotiating for a higher retransmission rate, the total revenue generated from those fees is dependent on the number of people that subscribe to Time Warner.

If a large quantity of subscribers abandoned Time Warner due to the lack of CBS and other CBS-owned channels during an extended September blackout, CBS could have been paid less when the channels finally returned to the Time Warner lineup despite negotiating a higher rate per subscriber. Neither side has specified the new rate of the retransmission fees, but the response from CBS CEO Leslie Moonves seems to put a positive spin on the situation.

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