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News Update
Time Warner Cable & CBS Go to War
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (July 19, 2013) - This is a news update on our earlier coverage of the various fee fights now going on between TV providers and network affiliates. (See our earlier article below.)

The gloves came off last night in the fee fight between Time Warner Cable and CBS with the network launching an advertising campaign accusing the cable operator of refusing to make a deal to keep CBS affiliates in their lineups in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The current contract between the two sides expired last month, but they extended it so negotiations could continue without a channel blackout. But CBS is now charging Time Warner Cable with refusing to extend the agreement again. Without an extension, Time Warner Cable subscribers in those three cities will lose their local CBS stations as early as Wednesday, July 24.

The blackout will only affect stations in Time Warner Cable markets that are owned by CBS. However, all Time Warner Cable subs would lose Showtime, which is also owned by CBS.

CBS has started a web site called which urges Time Warner Cable subscribers to switch to another pay TV service. And in an advertising campaign, the network says Time Warner Cable "is threatening to hold your favorite TV shows hostage and drop CBS."

CBS says Time Warner Cable is refusing to accept the same deal that other TV providers have agreed to to carry their affiliates.

Time Warner has countered with its own ad, saying that CBS "is driving up the cost of cable TV -- charging higher and higher prices for shows they give away for free online and over the air."

The debate between the two companies is nothing new with other pay TV providers and networks basically making the same charges in past battles. What's also similar is that opposing sides in a programming fee fight often publicly lash out at each other close to a deadline expiring.

But what is different in this case is that there has been a growing tension between pay TV services and content companies over the rising cost of programming. The pay TV providers maintain that the current system of paying for content has to change or they will either be forced to drop channels or raise subscriber fees.

While fee fights are often resolved at the 11nth hour -- and after plenty of name calling -- the friction that exists between the two camps could begin to lead more channel blackouts as pay TV providers look to draw a line in the sand.

Below is our earlier article on the ongoing fee fights between TV providers and channels.

The TV 'Fee Fight' Scoreboard
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2013) - The summer is supposed to be a time when people kick back and leave their worries behind. That is, unless you work in the television business.

As we approach the dog days of the season, there are several carriage battles ongoing between TV providers and content companies that could cost millions of viewers their favorite channels unless new deals are reached. thought we would give you a summary of the current struggles so you have something to read as you head to the beach this week. Nice of us, huh?

Dish vs. Media General
On June 30, Media General agreed to a 90-day extension in its negotiations with Dish for a new programming pact for 17 local stations in 16 markets. Since the extension announcement, both sides have been quiet about any progress.

Time Warner Cable vs. CBS
The current programming pact between Time Warner Cable and CBS was set to expire on July 1, but the two sides are continuing to negotiate without a channel blackout. The new deadline is the end of this month.

Any channel blackout would include CBS owned affiliates, including KCBS in Los Angeles, WCBS in New York and KTVT in Dallas-Ft. Worth. The network also owns Showtime, the Smithsonian channel and CBS Sports Network and they would be part of the blackout as well.

Neither side is talking about progress in negotiations, but the Los Angeles Times reports that tension between the two companies is growing.

Dish vs. Raycom
Dish could lose more than 50 local TV channels if it does not reach a new programming pact with Raycom Media by month's end.

Raycom has stations in such markets as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Charlotte, North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina, Birmingham, Alabama, Tucson, Arizona, Albany, New York, West Palm Beach, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky and Honolulu.

The stations have issued warnings at their web sites that Dish subscribers could lose their signals by July 31 if a new deal is not signed. There has been no sign of progress in the talks.

Time Warner Cable vs. Journal Broadcasting
Time Warner Cable and Journal Communications agreed to extend negotiations for six local channels until July 10. But the deadline expired and Journal invoked a rarely-used FCC regulation that forces Time Warner Cable to continue to carry five of the stations until July 24. (The Palm Springs market is the exception.)

The affected stations include NBC stations in Milwaukee and Green Bay and a CBS affiliate in Omaha. estimates that roughly 500,000 Time Warner Cable subscribers could lose programming if a new deal is not signed.

It's unclear what will happen on July 24 if a new pact is not signed yet.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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