Time Warner Cable and CBS Corp. resolved a month-long programming dispute
Monday that has prevented millions from watching their favorite shows and even threatened to interfere with the start of football season and the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
Broadcasting resumed Monday, giving nearly three million homes in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles access to CBS or CBS-owned channels, which they had been denied since Aug. 2.
The dispute stemmed from a disagreement over how much Time Warner Cable Inc. would pay for programming on CBS, which included other related channels such as the Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and the Smithsonian channel.
A sticking point in the contract negotiations had apparently been the retransmission fees the cable operator pays to CBS per subscriber, the Associated Press reported
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Neither Time Warner nor CBS has disclosed the deal's details, but executives on both sides acknowledged early in the talks that CBS was seeking an increase to about $2 per subscriber, up from about $1, according to the New York Times
. Separate statements from the chief executives of each company indicated that the outcome apparently tipped heavily toward CBS.
The blackout of CBS programming in three of the nation's five most populous television markets affected 1.1 million residents in New York's 7.4 million television households, approximately 1.3 million of 5.6 million households in Los Angeles, and some 400,000 of Dallas' 2.6 million TV homes, according to CBS.
Nationwide, approximately one percent of the viewership was lost during the blackout, CBS stated.
"While we certainly didn't get everything we wanted, ultimately we ended up in a much better place than when we started," Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said in a statement.
In addition to retransmission fees, another point of contention was the cable operator's access to CBS material for on-demand or mobile device viewing.
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The debate around online content comes while cable operators are facing challenges from competitors
such as Netflix that are making inroads with viewers who can pay less to watch shows online instead of paying for cable subscriptions.
Following the deal announcement, the acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, Mignon L. Clyburn, said in a statement that she was "pleased CBS and Time Warner Cable have resolved their retransmission consent negotiations, which for too long have deprived millions of consumers of access to CBS programming."
Clyburn added that both media companies should "accept shared responsibility" for putting their audiences' interests above other interests, the AP notes.
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