Contract dispute deprived customers of television programming

Some Time Warner Cable customers were likely pleased to hear about the agreement reached by the cable provider and CBS. As a result of being unable to agree on terms, CBS channels in various markets throughout the nation, including two in the state of New York, did not carry the channel. The blackout lasted over a month and affected more than 3 million customers.

Problems reaching a deal regarding the retransmission of CBS programming were based, at least in part, on Time Warner's refusal to pay CBS what it believed it deserved for its programming. As the network carries certain shows that are widely watched, CBS sought to capitalize on this via retransmission revenue. While $1 a month per Time Warner customer is generally considered to be a good price, CBS was seeking $2.

Another issue the two entities had to sort out was based on rights to stream both archived as well as live programs. CBS made it clear it did not want Time Warner to have all of those rights. Instead, CBS wanted to be able to make deals with other providers for their programs to be shown.

In bring the contract dispute to a close, CBS' CEO indicated that in addition to being compensated fairly for its programming, it has maintained some control over its shows. Just how close to its original request CBS got in the final contract is not known as the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Disputes such as these can be complex and take time to work through. Accordingly, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands how these types of cases are generally best resolved.

Source: USA Today, "CBS, Time Warner Cable reach agreement, end blackout," Roger Yu, Sept. 3, 2013

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