CBS, TWC Quarrel -- And Fans Pay
As CBS and Time Warner Cable hurl accusations at each other to win public support for their fee battle, who wins? It may keep lawyers and publicists happy and flush, but it’s a pain for viewers.
At present, CBS stations are blacked out in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and other markets. Household ratings are dropping in all markets; New York, Los Angeles and Dallas account for about 14% of American TV homes.
If you’re a CBS watcher, you’re missing various shows, including “The Mentalist” or “Unforgettable.” But if you’re a Showtime subscriber, you’re also missing the final episodes of “Dexter.”
Assuming you, like me, have been following the exploits of America’s favorite serial killer — or avenging angel, as Dexter sees himself — for years, the frustration is acute! Added diss: The day after I lost the ability to watch the first of the three final episodes, TWC raised my cable price.
Oh, the humanity.
And it did so, while running a statement on TV that read, in part, it was committed to “reasonable rates.”
This is what is known as irony.
After all, when the shouting is over, whatever the resolution, TWC customers will be stuck with the bill, which unlike the stock market, is on a perennial upswing.
What’s a fan to do? Illegal downloads are out. There aren’t full episodes on YouTube — I checked. I’ve considered befriending anyone with FiOS, but only if our friendship is finite — a few Sunday nights and it’s history.
When CBS and Time Warner have their annual fee arguments, it’s hard to garner much sympathy. They are giant corporations with ample funds, while the subscribers that keep their coffers full have no say. Conversely, the executives in $5,000 suits yelling at one another receive bonuses that could pay cable rates for thousands of viewers — for years.
Aside from the option of dropping TWC and adding FiOS in Manhattan, which means disentangling double or triple play for many consumers, there is little recourse, save cord-cutting.
Perhaps it would be easier if we sent Dexter to the negotiating table. When it comes to cutting deals, he’s a natural.