Time Warner blacks out CBS for millions

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. cable television giant Time Warner Cable said unproductive talks with CBS were behind the decision to black out CBS stations for millions of viewers.

"It's become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they're not willing to come to reasonable terms," Time Warner Cable spokesman Eric Mangan said in a statement.


"We thank our customers for their patience and support as we continue to fight hard to keep their prices down," the statement said.

The cable service has blacked out Showtime, The Movie Channel and The Smithsonian Channel, CNNMoney reported Saturday.

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It has also blacked out stations in cities where CBS owns the affiliates. That move has affected roughly 3 million subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh, CNNMoney said.

Although Mangan said talks were ongoing, public statements were disparaging.

Time Warner Cable "has conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning," CBS said.

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"What CBS seeks, and what we always have sought from the beginning, is fair compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world," the content provider said.


"We hope and believe this period of darkness will be short and that we can all get back to the business of providing the best entertainment, news and sports to the Time Warner Cable customers we both serve," CBS said.

Time Warner, meanwhile, accused CBS of demanding per subscriber fees 600 percent more than the normal rate.

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CBS said that was an exaggeration, but would not divulge details.

CBS said its terms were "well in line with what the industry is paying for content."

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