Entertainment | Business

Time Warner Offers Customers Free Antennas To Watch CBS

NPR | Aug. 23, 2013 12:25 p.m.

Contributed By:

Eyder Peralta

The CBS headquarters seen on August 2, 2013 in New York City.

The CBS headquarters seen on August 2, 2013 in New York City.

Getty Images, Andrew Burton

Time Warner Cable has come up with an old-school solution for the CBS blackout: In an email to customers, the provider offered free antennas for subscribers who wish to watch CBS.

If you remember, Time Warner and CBS have been fighting a battle over retransmission consent fees. The failure to reach an agreement means that for close to three weeks, Time Warner customers in some big markets have been unable to watch CBS through their cable company.

CNN Money reports:

“‘We regret that CBS has put our customers in this position by continuing to withhold its channels,’ read the missive from Time Warner Cable. ‘We are trying to strike a balance between our desire to restore the channels as soon as possible and our responsibility to all of our customers to hold down the rising cost of TV.’

“The Time Warner Cable email also said, ‘If we agreed to every outrageous demand made by every television network, cable TV bills would skyrocket.’

“The dispute centers on how much the cable operator should pay to carry CBS programming in places where CBS owns local affiliates, including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh.”

Southern California Public Radio reports that on Thursday, CBS reached a deal over fees with Verizon FIOS.

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves sent a memo to employees saying that CBS offered Time Warner “almost exactly the same deal” that Verizon took.

Moonves went on, according to SCPR:

“I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way these negotiations have gone. Never in my most pessimistic moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long and have been so difficult. In many aspects of the deal, Time Warner Cable is demanding different terms than any other company in the business. I am frankly mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency to resolve this matter for their customers.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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