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Time Warner, CBS reach accommodation, end blackout

Mon, 09/02/2013 - 7:58pm
The Associated Press

TV network CBS and cable provider Time Warner Cable have ended their monthlong dispute and resumed broadcast programming in millions of homes in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The agreement ends a blackout of CBS and CBS-owned channels that included Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and the Smithsonian channel. The contract disagreement started Aug. 2 and affected more than 3 million homes. Broadcasting resumed Monday evening on the East Coast.

The companies were in dispute over how much Time Warner Cable Inc. would pay for CBS Corp. programming. Terms of the deal haven't been disclosed.

The agreement includes retransmission fees the cable operator pays to CBS per subscriber, which had been a sticking point.

Added pressure was on the two companies to reach an agreement since the start of football season and the U.S Open tennis tournament had begun in New York.

The blackout affected about 1.1 million of New York's 7.4 million television households that get CBS. An estimated 1.3 million of 5.6 million households in Los Angeles were blacked out, along with 400,000 of Dallas' 2.6 million TV homes, CBS said. Those are three of the nation's five most populous television markets.

CBS estimates the blackout cuts the network's national viewership by about 1 percent.

The talks were being closely watched beyond these companies and their customers because of the idea that a retransmission agreement will set a precedent for future negotiations between different networks and cable or satellite companies. Another point of contention was the cable operator's access to CBS material for on-demand or mobile device viewing.

"While we certainly didn't get everything we wanted, ultimately we ended up in a much better place than when we started," said Time Warner Cable's CEO Glenn Britt in a statement.

 

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