As Time Warner and CBS continue to disagree, the blackout between the two broadcasting companies is hitting the three-week mark. On Friday, Time-Warner sent an email to customers indicating the company is “making basic indoor antennas available at no cost.” With the addition of the “rabbit ear” style antennas, Time-Warner customers can watch CBS shows over the air just as anyone would without a cable subscription.
The email continued with the statement, “We regret that CBS has put our customers in this position by continuing to withhold its channels. We are trying to strike a balance between our desire to restore the channels as soon as possible and our responsibility to all of our customers to hold down the rising cost of TV.” Later in the email, Time-Warner said, “If we agreed to every outrageous demand made by every television network, cable TV bills would skyrocket.”
This ongoing dispute is focused on how much Time-Warner, the cable TV operator, should pay CBS in order to carry the network’s programming in the areas where CBS owns the local affiliates, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. Time-Warner argues that CBS is demanding much more than the affiliates that carry CBS programming but that are owned by smaller companies in other cities. CBS disputes those claims and argues their prices are in line with the situation.
The dispute has been ongoing since July 23 when the blackout threat first appeared during the battle over transmission fees. On Aug. 2 it happened and the blackout started, more than three million Time-Warner subscribers could no longer view CBS content, including the popular shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS.”
Time-Warner offered CBS a truce on Aug. 5, which CBS rejected, so the dispute and the blackout drags on. When the issue will be resolved, no one is certain, but with the popular programs kicking off new seasons and the sports seasons starting in the fall, it seems as though many customers would want the issue resolved in the near future.