Skip to main content

CBS temporarily shutters in major cities after failing to reach deals with TWC

CBS Time Warner Cable blackout

After failing to meet an agreement deal on the availability of CBS programming, Time Warner Cable temporarily shuttered the network’s broadcasts in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. The blackout also dropped Showtime, The Movie Channel (TMC), Flix, and Smithsonian – with each channel disappearing around 12 a.m. ET.

“As of midnight ET, Time Warner Cable customers in New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles will no longer receive their local CBS broadcast stations,” Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff said in a statement. “We offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS’ demands are out of line and unfair – and they want Time Warner Cable to pay more than others pay for the same programming.”

It’s always hard to decipher which side of the team to believe – both companies want to monetize as best they can in the era of online TV services like Aereo, and both are blaming one another for not doing enough to please the masses. It’s a bit of a he said-she said: If you are a TWC subscriber and watched TV in the past few days, you might have noticed a few gloom notices about how CBS was being greedy about the rates it wants to continue service. Conversely, CBS claims Time Warner Cable isn’t agreeing to terms competitors accepted. By going dark, TWC has affected an estimated 3.5 million homes – roughly 29 percent of the company’s consumer.

Perhaps realizing the childishness of the situation, not long after the blackout occurred, Twitter reports cited that CBS was back in most of the cities Time Warner claimed would experience the drop. “At the request of CBS, we have halted going dark on their channels. I’ll update you when I have more information I can share,” TWC told The Wrap. Negotiations have been extended until August 2 at 5 p.m. ET.

Of course, this isn’t the first network versus cable service drama that has occurred in recent years. Just last summer, AMC played up its own fight with Dish Network by creating a zombie-filled PR stunt just to get people buzzing. Most of the time, companies are able to reach an agreement in the last minute – this time, TWC subscribers lost the channel for about 30 minutes. Which, if we’re honest, probably wasn’t even that big a deal since most of the east coast would be fast asleep. The ones that are awake are left with repeat episodes of Mike & Molly and How I Met Your Mother.

Is the ridiculousness of the whole situation even more of an excuse for customers to shift toward Internet services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video? Let’s face it: Even CBS’s suggestion to the temporarily blackout was for customers to access programming via the network’s website. Cable companies are just starting to dig their own grave.

Editors' Recommendations

Natt Garun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
An avid gadgets and Internet culture enthusiast, Natt Garun spends her days bringing you the funniest, coolest, and strangest…
Comcast execs: Verizon deal to bring the ‘quadruple play’

Late last week, Verizon Wireless signed a deal to purchase 122 spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion. As part of the deal, which awaits approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the Comcast will now be able to sell Verizon Wireless service as part of their communications packages. To the casual observer, this might not sound particularly significant — in fact, it will likely prove to be one of the most consequential partnerships in the US communications industry. And Comcast executives agree. "Talk about content, you got NBC. And wireless, you got this. In perpetuity," said Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis during the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, as quoted by Variety. "This is a deal forever. We don't have to invest in building a wireless network. We aren't going to acquire a wireless network. It's quite a significant transaction." If you're a Comcast customer, this means that you will eventually be able to purchase cable television, Internet service, home phone service, and cell phone service, all through your cable company. It also means special deals if you buy into the the "quadruple play" option; and you'll eventually be able to watch live TV on your Verizon smartphone, then resume watching on your television. This and other "great new innovations" will result from this partnership, Comcast Cable president Neil Smit told the group of investors at the UBS conference. For Verizon wireless customers, it means great access to a faster and faster 4G LTE network, which will come as a result of the spectrum buy.In essence, this deal is a merger without any companies actually merging. It is a substantial condensation of power in the communications industry. And while this may indeed lead to innovation for these companies, it also means other companies will either have to make partnerships of their own, or risk falling behind. And anytime that happens, it's bad for customers.
[Image via EDHAR/Shutterstock]

Read more
Starz planning HBO GO clone after Netflix deal expires
starz logo

On Thursday of this week, Starz President Chris Albrecht announced plans to create and launch a digital platform for distributing Starz content very similar to the HBO GO application created by HBO. The application will work on a variety of platforms and may require an existing subscription to the Starz network through a cable or satellite company. However, Albrecht also indicated that the company was exploring the option of providing Starz to consumers that don't have a cable subscription. This will allow cord cutters to pay for access to the Starz network of channels directly and will likely be rebuked by companies like Time Warner, Comcast, DirecTV and other providers. The Starz application will likely work on game consoles like the PlayStation 3 in addition to tablets and smartphones. 
The content partnership between Netflix and Starz ends during February 2012 and will leave over 21 million Netflix subscribers without access to popular content like Pixar films. Netflix attempted to offer Starz over $300 million a year to continue the partnership, but the deal fell apart when Starz demanded a premium pricing tier that would cost Netflix subscribers an additional fee to access the content. Starz is currently in discussions with Amazon and Blockbuster for access to the video content under similar terms, but hasn't announced any official deal yet. Starz does have existing deals in place with companies like Comcast and Dish Network to allow broadcast of Starz content on digital platforms.
To fill the gap left by the absence of Starz content, Netflix has been quickly adding new partnerships with other media companies since the Starz negotiations broke down a few months ago. Just yesterday, Netflix announced exclusive broadcast rights to the final season of Arrested Development. Other partnerships include a renewal of a deal with ABC, a new deal with the CW, an expanded deal with AMC and a deal stolen from HBO that brings Dreamworks movies to Netflix.

Read more
Crazy deal gets you Beats Studio Buds earbuds for under $100
beats studio buds cyber monday deal 2021 black friday

The Beats by Dre answer to AirPods just got a fantastic deal at Woot! You can get the Beats Studio Buds for only $98, down from their usual $150. There's even a surprising bonus. Unlike most products sold on Woot!, which is a subsidiary of Amazon, these Beats buds are not used, renewed or refurbished. That's right, they are completely new -- and $52 off! Headphone deals like this don't pop up every day. Check it out below.

Why you should buy the Beats Studio Buds
At launch, we described the Beats Studio Buds as AirPods Pro Lite. While they lack finer details like wireless charging and wear sensors, they're well-priced offering excellent sound quality and ANC. The buds provide two distinct listening modes -- Active Noise Cancelling and Transparency -- so you can take in as much of the world as you desire at any time. Industry-leading Class 1 Bluetooth provides an extended range and fewer dropouts than other earbuds while you also get a great audio experience.

Read more