LOS ANGELES – Three million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas lost access to CBS programming in a fee dispute Friday, threatening their ability to watch popular shows like “Under the Dome” or see Tiger Woods pursue his eighth win at the Firestone Country Club.
The nation’s second largest cable operator said that CBS refused to have productive negotiations, which were repeatedly extended after their previous deal expired at the end of June.
As Friday’s blackout stretched past a couple of hours, it appeared consumers would be caught in the crossfire for some time.
“It’s become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they’re not willing to come to reasonable terms,” Time Warner Cable said.
Multiple stations that carry CBS programming in New York and Los Angeles were replaced around 2:15 p.m. Pacific time with a message from Time Warner Cable saying that CBS had “demanded an outrageous increase” in the fees it demands to carry its TV stations’ signals.
CBS said it regretted Time Warner Cable’s decision, calling it “ill-advised.”
Most of the cable subscribers affected live in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, but customers in other markets – Boston, Pittsburgh, Denver, Detroit and Chicago – also lost signals.
The fight centers on the rising fees that TV station owners like CBS charge cable and satellite companies to retransmit their content. Research firm SNL Kagan estimates retransmission fees will reach $3 billion industrywide this year and double to $6 billion by 2018.