Bright House’s Indy Subs Are Tuning In CBS Fare Online

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An estimated one-fifth of Bright House Networks subscribers in Indianapolis are watching CBS programming online during a retransmission-consent dispute with LIN TV, according to a recent survey.

The cable operator’s subscribers have been unable to view WISH-TV, the local CBS affiliate, since LIN pulled 15 stations in 11 East Coast and Midwestern markets earlier this month in a retransmission-consent flap with Time Warner Cable, which negotiates Bright House’s programming deals.

According to survey Bright House conducted last week that yielded more than 600 responses from its customers in the Indianapolis DMA, 21% indicated that they were watching CBS shows online.

That total could go up next week, when Bright House begins handing out free “S” video cords, which are used for computer-to-TV output, allowing video from a computer to be viewable on a TV. Any Bright House Networks customer with an "S" video input on their TV can connect their computer to their TV and watch CBS programming via CBS.com.

Bright House, which had already disseminated over-the-area antennas, said its customers can pick up their S video cord at the company’s offices in Indianapolis, Carmel, Avon and Marion or by calling the company at (317) 972-9700. Marion customers are instructed to call (765) 662-0071.

"The migration of our customers to the Internet to watch their favorite CBS programming is extremely high and continues to grow," said Buz Nesbit, president of Bright House Networks Indiana, in a statement. "A high percentage of our subscribers have taken advantage of the free antennas we are providing. Our customers are being quite resourceful and patient despite LIN TV's poor decision to pull CBS programming from our system and continued refusal to allow us to rebroadcast its signals to our Indiana customers."

One key program Bright House cable subs will have to go without is Sunday’s National Football game pitting the hometown Indianapolis Colts against the Green Bay Packers, which is scheduled to air at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 19, unless they install an antenna to their sets.

The15 LIN stations have remained dark to Time Warner Cable and Bright House customers since Oct. 3, when the broadcaster pulled their signals upon the expiration of the contracts.

LIN is seeking a 30-cent license fee for its stations, while the cable operators maintains that it doesn't want to pay for broadcast signals that are available for free over the air.

At press time on Friday, spokeswomen for both companies said the parties were “still actively negotiating.”

The impacted markets where LIN pulled its stations off Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems are: Austin, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Green Bay, Wis.; Indianapolis; Mobile, Ala.; Springfield, Mass.; Terre Haute, Ind.; and Toledo, Ohio.

Time Warner said 1.5 million of its subscribers are affected, while 106,000 Bright House customers are impacted in Indianapolis.

On Oct. 13, the nation’s second-largest cable operator averted a similar situation with KSAT 12, reaching a retransmission-consent pact, terms of which were not disclosed, with the Post-Newsweek TV station in San Antonio. The contract was set to expire on Oct. 15.  

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