SBD/August 6, 2013/Media

Media Deals: CBS Says TWC Blackout Is Causing Minimal Effect On Ratings

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CBS yesterday said that Time Warner Cable's ongoing blackout of CBS signals "has had a minimal effect on the network's ratings." In L.A., Ryan Faughnder noted "through the first three nights of the outage, which began Friday, the network's ratings have been down by about 1%" (LATIMES.com, 8/5). Deutsche Bank Managing Dir Doug Mitchelson said that TV distributors "have started pushing back" on the rising costs of programming, "including on sports programming." Mitchelson said that DirecTV has "decided it won't carry" NBCUniversal's CSN Houston or TWC's upcoming Dodgers RSN, SportNet LA. He added that "some small cable operators attending the Independent Show" in San Diego "have said they pay upwards of $15 in some markets for regional sports channels." Mitchelson: "That's just abusive pricing for something that's not programming that many sports hours a year as it is" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/5).

NO DEAL: REUTERS notes CBS President & CEO Les Moonves today "fired back" at TWC, "using unusually harsh language to reject the cable company's overture in their dispute over broadcasting fees." In a letter to TWC Chair & CEO Glenn Britt, Moonves wrote of the cable company’s offer to carry the net on an a la carte basis, “Anyone familiar with the entertainment business knows that this is an empty gesture. The economics and structure of the cable industry have created a certain way that content is distributed and compensated. We both know that a true a la carte universe is not one that Time Warner Cable welcomes.” Mooves: “If you thought it was a good idea, why aren’t you offering your new, multi-billion-dollar Lakers and Dodgers channels to your subscribers in Los Angeles on an a la carte basis? Instead, your subscribers in Los Angeles are already being charged in the neighborhood of $4.00 for the Lakers and likely more than that for the Dodgers -- both of which you have pulled off broadcast television entirely.” He added, “At the same time, you find it impossible to pay far, far less than that for the network that brings your viewers the NFL, the PGA Championship, the Masters, the NCAA Basketball tournament, SEC Football … and so much more” (REUTERS, 8/6).

GOLDEN TICKET: DirecTV Chair, President & CEO Michael White during the company's Q2 earnings call said that "talks with the NFL are ongoing" about the Sunday Ticket package. White added that he "believed a renewal would be reached before the current contract expires" after the '14 season. White said, "I continue to be optimistic that we're great partners together and that Sunday Ticket will stay with us for the long haul." White said that DirecTV is "getting ready to update its Sunday Ticket iPad app with new features designed to appeal to the Fantasy Football crowd" (ADWEEK.com, 8/2).
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