CBS and Time Warner Cable ended their month-long retrans dispute on Monday, agreeing to a deal that will restore CBS programming to 3.2 million cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
In a brief statement at 5 p.m. on Monday, CBS said that an agreement had been reached and that programming would be resume at 6 p.m. (ET). The stations went dark on Time Warner Cable systems on Aug. 2. The disconnect encompassed 13 CBS-owned stations in eight markets, plus cable services Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian Channel. The dispute centered on the value of the monthly subscriber fees for the networks, and control over various digital rights.
Though specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, that parties said in a statement that the agreement includes retransmission consent, as well as Showtime Anytime and VOD, for CBS stations on Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA).
Analysts estimated that CBS had been receiving about 75 to 80 cents per subscriber per month, and was looking to lift that rate to $2 per sub over the course of a multiyear pact. The dispute came during the last month of summer, with CBS largely in reruns, and the network's top show, Under the Dome, available days after it premiere on Amazon Prime. TWC customers missed CBS's coverage of the U.S. Open over Labor Day weekend, but tennis certainly lacks the widescale appeal of the NFL, which had been in preseason mode, before its regular season kicks off this week.
"We want to say welcome back now to New York, Los Angeles and Dallas," CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor (pictured) said in reporting the settlement during the 6:30 p.m. (ET) newscast as seen on WCBS in New York.
In a memo to employees, CBS CEO Les Moonves noted that the dispute was one of the more diffulcult for the broadcaster, but expressed relief that the battle was finally over.
"This was a far more protracted dispute than anyone at CBS 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," Moonves said in the memo. "That has been achieved. The final agreements with Time Warner Cable deliver to us all the value and terms that we sought in these discussions. We are receiving fair compensation for CBS content and we also have the ability to monetize our content going forward on all the new, developing platforms that are right now transforming the way people watch television."
Moonves thanked company executives like chief operating officer Joe Ianniello, who he said spearheaded the negotiating efforts, and president of television distribution Ray Hopkins who worked around the clock with other CBS employees to hammer out an agreement.
"This has been a difficult time for our viewers and for CBS," Moonves continued. "I am glad it’s behind us. After a terrific summer of programming, we now all look forward to the new television season. It’s good to be back."
In a statement, Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt said the company appreciated its customers and loyalty during the dispute.
"As in all of our negotiations, we wanted to hold down costs and retain our ability to deliver a great video experience for our customers," he said. "While we certainly didn’t get everything we wanted, ultimately we ended up in a much better place than when we started.
"We are also encouraged by the 50-plus consumer organizations and legislators that supported our call for Congress and the FCC to reassess the 1992 retransmission consent rules," Britt continued. "The rules are woefully out of date, are the primary reason cable bills are rising, and too frequently leave our customers without the programming they love. We sincerely hope that policymakers heed that call and take action to prevent these unfortunate blackouts soon.”