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Time Warner & CBS Reach Content Carriage Agreement (New York, Dallas, LA)

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Time Warner-CBS blackout reaches eighth day, viewers to miss golf major
By Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) - More than 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas will be blocked from watching golf's Major Championship and other popular shows this weekend if the cable company fails to reach an agreement with CBS to end the week-long blackout.

Neither side showed signs of making any progress on ending the dispute as negotiations continued on Friday.

The top U.S. communications regulator said it is ready to act if CBS and Time Warner Cable do not follow through on negotiating to end the blackout of CBS programming in New York and Los Angeles over Time Warner's cable television service.

The blackout started last Friday when the two companies could not agree on fees that Time Warner Cable pays CBS to carry some local stations owned by the broadcaster in some of the largest U.S. TV markets.

"We will continue to urge all parties to stay and resolve in good faith this issue as soon as possible. However, I will affirm to you that I am ready to consider appropriate action if this dispute continues," said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn.

Clyburn, speaking at a press conference in Washington on Friday, also said she was "really distressed" and "disappointed" by the blackout" and was in touch with both companies.

Time Warner Cable said it agreed with the chairwoman's comments and hopes "CBS soon will come to a reasonable agreement with us that is fair to our customers and their viewers."

CBS said it declined to comment on the remarks.

The FCC probably will not be able end the fight, said David Wittenstein, a communications attorney at the firm Dow Lohnes who has handled similar negotiations between cable companies and broadcasters.

"The FCC has taken a position that it has very limited authority to step in and end an impasse. What the FCC can do as a practical matter is quite limited," he said.

He said the FCC could only get involved if one of the parties files a complaint that says one of the sides is not negotiating "in good faith." The FCC could step in if one side is refusing to meet or not providing good reasons for rejecting offers, for example.

On Thursday, online video streaming services like Netflix Inc and Amazon Inc became a new sticking point in the increasingly acrimonious talks.


Time Warner Hit With Class Action Suit Over CBS, Showtime BlackoutsBy JEN YAMATO | Wednesday August 14, 2013 @ 5:39pm PDT

BREAKING: Three LA-area plaintiffs have filed a class action complaint on behalf of paying Time Warner Cable subscribers in California over the cable provider’s ongoing blackout of CBS, Showtime, Movie Channel, and KCAL channels. Those networks have been blocked by TWC since its negotiations with CBS fell apart on August 2. In a complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, TWC customers James Armstrong, Michael Pourtemour, and Vatsana Bilavarn seek subscription fees and charge reimbursements on behalf of potentially several millions of fellow TWC subscribers for monthly subscription fees TWC charged during its continuing CBS/Showtime blackout. The company said after talks broke off early this month that it would offer a credit to subscribers for Showtime and TMC — though not the over-the-air stations — but apparently has yet to do so. The plaintiffs argue that they would not have subscribed to TWC for broadcast and Internet services had they known that channels promised in the provider’s packaging would not be offered, citing Showtime’s critically acclaimed shows Dexter and Ray Donovan and CBS programs including Big Brother, NFL football, and the PGA Championship as desired deal-breakers used in TWC marketing to incentivize subscriptions.

Plaintiffs also argue that no notice was given on or before the August 2 blackout and credits have not been offered by TWC since the blackout began. And because the company continued to sell subscriptions in recent months touting its full pre-blackout cable offerings, the suit alleges TWC is in violation of biz statutes forbidding “any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices” and that TWC’s treatment of its customers is “immoral, unethical, unscrupulous, oppressive, and substantially injurious.” Claiming unjust enrichment, breach of contract and more, the plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial. They are represented by Daniel Weintraub, James Selth, Blake Lindemann and Elaine Nguyen of Weintraub & Selth in LA.

So as CBS & Time Warner continue to exchange barbs back and forth, CBS & Verizon have come to agreement, and take a dig at Time Warner...

CBS Re-Ups Verizon Retrans Deal, Takes Subtle Digs at TWC
Tony Maglio | The Wrap

CBS and Verizon reached a new three-year agreement Thursday allowing for continued retransmission of CBS programming on Verizon's FiOS TV in multiple markets across the country.

CBS took the opportunity to subtly ding Time Warner Cable, with which it is locked in long, contentious negotiations. A news release noted that the deal covers three major markets -- New York, Los Angeles and Dallas -- where Time Warner has blacked out CBS.

"This deal was reached in a short period of time, and CBS has once again achieved fair value for our over-the-air rights," said Ray Hopkins, president of Television Networks Distribution, CBS Corporation. "Verizon is a distribution partner of growing importance to us that provides excellent service to its expanding number of subscribers, and we are glad that this partnership will continue and grow."

"We've reached this agreement in partnership with CBS for our customers, so that they may continue to enjoy CBS content on FiOS," said Terry Denson, vice president of Video Content and Strategy at Verizon. "Verizon continues to address areas of change where necessary in current policies to better reflect the interests of consumers."

CBS and Verizon also have an existing agreement to carry Showtime Networks and Smithsonian.

We have been thinking of going back to TW but are now rethinking it until we see how much fallout there is with CBS. We really don't want to have to watch over the air with an antennae.

You want CBS get an Antenna...

Time Warner Cable offers antennas during CBS blackout
(Reuters) - Time Warner Cable Inc is offering free antennas to help customers watch CBS via broadcast signals during a blackout that is in its third week, the cable operator said on Friday.

During the blackout, more than 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas have been unable to watch CBS, and the companies have been unable to reach a new programming deal since their agreement expired in June.

The cable company notified customers on its website and by email that they could ask for basic indoor antennas at their local Time Warner Cable store. It also offered a $20 voucher for customers who want to buy antennas at Best Buy Co Inc.

"All blacked-out broadcast stations remain available over the air, and most households can receive the signals if they have the right equipment," the cable company said.

It also offered Amazon gift cards so customers can watch CBS programs, using Amazon's Internet streaming service.

CBS declined to comment on the offers.

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Thursday that both sides continued to negotiate but that no resolution was in sight. Most analysts expect the two parties to reach a deal by the time the National Football League season kicks off in September.


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