CBS and Time Warner have returned to the negotiating table over carriage fees. After talks soured Monday night, the pay-TV operator began blacking out CBS programming in some markets early Tuesday morning before restoring it at the network's request.
CBS is demanding a 600% increase in fees in eight cities where the network owns the TV stations, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Time Warner has responded by calling the increase "outrageous" and "out of line." "It's unreasonable to expect our customers to pay a 600% premium in a handful of cities," Time Warner said on its website eliciting comment from viewers on the matter.
Time Warner pays CBS less than $1 per subscriber, but the network, which is the country's most watched, says that's less than what channels with lower ratings receive. CBS, which owns Showtime, TMC, and Flix among other channels, is also home to the NFL and Emmy Awards broadcasts. "We feel we should be paid for our programming," said CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.
Subscribers aren't sitting back idly, instead venting their frustrations on Time Warner Cable's Facebook page. On one unrelated Facebook post about the movie Pawn Shop Chronicles, this exchange happened (click to enlarge):
One responder was sympathetic to the pay TV operator (as well as his wallet): "Don't cave to the pressure. CBS is free on the airwaves. I DO NOT want my cable bill rising any more just to save CBS and Showtime."
Meanwhile on Twitter, one user replied somewhat poignantly to a tweet from @CBSNews asking subscribers to complain to Time Warner:
We'd hate to be the person in charge of managing TWC's Facebook page, as it is littered with damning comments from fed-up customers, all imploring subscribers to inspect their bills or abandon ship.
[Image: Flickr user Jason Rogers]