CBS-TWC Grudge Match Ends As NFL Season Approaches
The settlement comes less than a week before the start of the NFL on CBS, which many believed would prompt a deal. An estimated 3 million-plus homes experienced blackouts of CBS local stations -- including more than a quarter of homes in the Los Angeles market, a TWC stronghold.
The agreement technically also involves Bright House Networks, a cable operator that calls on TWC to conduct carriage negotiations for it. The deal also covers CBS Sports Network and the Smithsonian Channel.
CBS and TWC were battling over how much TWC would pay CBS in retransmission fees for the local stations. There were also reports that TWC wanted to restrict what programming CBS made available to various online outlets. No terms of the new deal were released.
The dispute brought some remarkable offensives by both sides. TWC offered customers free antennas so they could pick up CBS stations over the air. CBS, for its part, prevented TWC broadband customers -- even those without TWC TV service -- from accessing full episodes of its shows online.
CBS and TWC executives are now likely to be called before Congress at some point to explain why the blackouts were so prolonged. Congress has shown some interest in reforming the landscape that brings difficult retransmission negotiations, while the FCC is looking into it as well. But there’s no indication that either will take robust action anytime soon.