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CBS, Time Warner Come to Terms

2 Sep, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

A month after more than 3 million Time Warner Cable subscribers lost access to CBS and Showtime content, the cable operator and networks have reached an agreement on retransmission fees, the parties announced Sept. 2.

Time Warner subscribers in the New York, Los Angeles and Dallas areas saw CBS, Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel appear with their service 3 p.m. Pacific on Labor Day.

The entities did not disclose specific terms of the deal. Time Warner Cable’s license with CBS expired in June.

“As in all of our negotiations, our main goal was to hold down costs and retain our ability to deliver a great video experience for our customers. We’re pleased that we successfully achieved both,” Jeff Simmermon, director of digital communications for Time Warner, said in a statement. “We know these disputes are frustrating, and we’re sorry they have to happen. But we hope the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain of keeping your costs down and providing the best possible viewing experience.”

In the statement, Time Warner Cable announced that CBS Primetime on Demand and Showtime on Demand access would be restored within 24 hours, and that subscribers to Showtime would receive a credit for the blackout period.

Time Warner will not give a credit to subscribers for the CBS blackout, instead previously offering a preview of premium programming from Starz Kids & Family, a free VOD movie or an Amazon gift card. Time Warner also offered free antennas to its subscribers and provided the Tennis Channel to digital customers during the U.S. Open.

“All of that has a significant retail value and we won’t be providing any additional compensation,” Time Warner stated. “Remember that CBS is carried as part of a programming package, and we typically do not adjust what customers pay for changes to the lineup — whether channels are added or removed.”

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, in a memo to CBS employees relayed by CBS-owned CNET, said the negotiations took far longer than anticipated, “but in spite of the pain it caused to all of us, and most importantly the inconvenience to our viewers who were affected, it was an important one, and one worth pursuing to a satisfactory conclusion. That has been achieved.”

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