CBS Swings at TWC's Los Angeles Sports Holdings in Latest Retrans Salvo

Broadcaster Takes Aim at RSN Pricing, Positioning
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Keeping the barbs flowing in its retransmission/carriage disconnect with Time Warner Cable, CBS took aim at the cable company’s position on the sports front in Los Angeles.

Thirteen CBS-owned stations have been off the operator’s systems in eight markets since Aug.2, while cable networks Showtime, TMC, Flik and Smithsonian Channel are not available to the MSO’s customers nationwide. The broadcaster has blocked Time Warner Cable high-speed data customers from viewing CBS content online, as well as DirecTV and Dish video subscribers that take the MSO’s broadband service.

In Los Angeles, CBS pointed out that Time Warner Cable also sits on the programming side of the distribution equation, where it gained rights to the Los Angeles Lakers games for some $3 billion and formed a regional sports network and a Spanish-language counterpart that carry a monthly license fee of some $4 per month.

CBS, which failed to mention that the services also carry Los Angeles Sparks WNBA contests and Los Angeles Galaxy MLS matches and assorted team-related fare, said that with 52 exclusive Lakers games this year subscribers were paying nearly $1 per game.

The broadcaster also noted that TWC is paying a reported $8 billion for rights to MLB Los Angeles Dodgers, which will start their own network, beginning with the 2014 season, that will carry a license fee of more than $4 monthly.

Meanwhile, CBS said that per local regulations, TWC discloses on its bills that that is charging $20/month for “broadcast” television, a fee is said is 54% higher than they charged two years ago, during which time Lakers games have come off local broadcast.

Neither the Lakers or Dodgers channels are or will be available to consumers on an a la carte basis, according to CBS.

CBS CEO Les Moonves on Tuesday lambasted Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt’s Aug. 5 proposal to return CBS stations to the MSO’s systems as “dishonest.”

Britt’s letter offered to end the blackout of the stations and cable networks if CBS agreed to recently negotiated economic terms that did not include digital rights, or to an a la carte plan that would allow subscribers who want CBS to pay a fee to the broadcasters.