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CBS, Time Warner Cable reach carriage agreement
9/5/2013

CBS and Time Warner Cable have reached an agreement on broadcast rights and payments, thus ending a month-long impasse that saw more than 3 million of the cable operator’s customers going without access to programming from the broadcast network and its cable networks.

The agreement, announced Sept. 2, comes days before the National Football League kicks off regular season play.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed; however, the agreement includes retransmission consent, as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD for CBS stations on Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLNY), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAP) and Dallas (KTVT and KXTA), according to a CBS press release.

The agreement restores CBS programming to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network customers.

An e-mail from CBS CEO Les Moonves to employees of the network said the Time Warner Cable deal gives the network “all the value and terms that we sought in these discussions.”

Among the key provisions sought by CBS was complete control over distribution of its programming on second-screen devices, such as smartphones and iPads. According to media reports, CBS wanted to be able to provide an app at no charge to subscribers giving them access to the content of CBS-owned broadcast stations on their smartphones and media tablets. Conversely, Time Warner Cable favored the TV Everywhere approach which would give the cable operator more control. In the end, CBS won full control over its digital offering.

The deal also reportedly includes a significant increase in how much Time Warner Cable pays CBS to retransmit its programming.

A press statement from Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable’s Chairman and CEO, acknowledged the cable operation “didn’t get everything we wanted,” but added “we ended up in a much better place than when we started.” Britt went on to point out that more than 50 consumer groups and legislators supported the cable company’s call for a reassessment of the 1992 retransmission consent rules, which he said are “woefully out of date” and “the primary reason cable bills are rising.”

Mignon Clyburn, acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, expressed her pleasure that CBS and Time Warner Cable had reached an agreement and added that said “media companies should accept shared responsibility for putting their audience's interests above other interests and do all they can to avoid these kinds of disputes in the future."

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