As you probably know from news reports and advertising from both sides, Time Warner Cable’s current contract with CBS Television expired yesterday at 5pm Eastern Time.
The contract was set to expire weeks ago, but we agreed to several extensions hoping we could reach a deal to keep CBS on the air. Unfortunately, despite our continued efforts to reach agreement, CBS has been uncompromising – making demands that are completely inconsistent with the agreements we’ve reached with hundreds of other broadcasters. As a result, we were unable to reach an agreement by this evening’s deadline and we are no longer authorized to carry the CBS-owned broadcast affiliates, such as KCBS Los Angeles, WCBS New York, and KTVT Dallas, as well as other CBS-owned cable networks, such as Showtime, TMC, Flix, Smithsonian and CBS Primetime on Demand programming. We regret that CBS has put Time Warner Cable and, most importantly, our customers in this position.
It is often said that these disputes are just two giant corporations fighting over money. But the skyrocketing price of programming has a direct impact on your monthly cable bill. If we paid CBS what they are asking, the next broadcaster or programmer would ask us – and others like FiOS, AT&T and DirecTV – for even higher prices next time. Cable TV bills would skyrocket. You’d be mad. We’d be mad. It won’t end well for anyone. So, we have to take a tough stand in these negotiations and fight to hold down the price we all end up paying for programming and to carry on reasonable and customary terms.
CBS Television CEO Les Moonves was quoted as saying “we are now at war with Time Warner Cable.” But the only people CBS is hurting are our viewers who love their shows. Please know that Time Warner Cable is at war with no one. We exist as a company to connect people to the things they love and CBS's shows and sports are a few of those things. We want to put CBS back on the air at a price that makes sense for us and our customers. That's not war, that's what our customers say they want – good programming at a fair price and on reasonable terms. We hope CBS will join us at the negotiating table and agree to a contract that is in the best interest of not only CBS, but everyone who enjoys watching television.