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Time Warner blackout of CBS goes into 7th day

Imogene Hughes, retired financial analyst

By Peggy Hunt

Oxnard resident Imogene Hughes, uses Verizon for her telephone and internet service provider. Time Warner has been gouging her with a whopping $67.35 per month, for basic broadcast at $28.00 and basic cable at $35.00 per month. What is basic broadcast? You got me. The Time Warner billing customer service employee couldn’t explain it to us either. But he did agreed to credit Hughes’ account two cents per day for each channel they were no longer carrying. I called Verizon and requested they bundle her  telephone, internet and television. Hughes agreed to a two year contact at $79.99 per month, for a savings of $692.64.

“Time Warner has gotten too big,” said Imogene Hughes, a retired Grumman financial analyst. Hughes is referring to Time Warner’s blackout of CBS. “They think they run everything now. CBS is like the small guy.”

Time Warner dropped CBS Friday, August 2, in Oxnard, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and several other cities, leaving three million customers without the network’s programs. The issue is fees that the cable company pays CBS to air its programs.

Each has accused the other of making unreasonable demands. On Saturday the two sides even seemed to disagree on the status of negotiations. CBS said it expects talks to resume soon, but the decision rests with Time Warner.
Time Warner also cut off cable networks Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian. The cable company’s customers are caught in the middle and the stakes will only go higher.

Late last Friday night, Time Warner posted a message to subscribers on its website from CEO Glenn Britt saying that CBS has been “uncompromising” by making demands that are inconsistent with deals made with hundreds of other broadcasters. If Time Warner gives in to CBS’ demands, he said, then other programmers will ask for more as well.

“Cable TV bills would skyrocket. You’d be mad. We’d be mad. It won’t end well for anyone,” Britt wrote.
CBS said this is the first time it’s been dropped by a cable system, and it has successfully negotiated deals with Comcast, Cablevision, Charter, DirecTV, AT&T, Verizon and other companies.

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