The CBS dispute cost Time Warner Cable

It's been two months since CBS and Time Warner Cable ended their month-long carriage dispute, but only now do we see the damage left behind.

According to Advertising Age and Time Warner, the cable provider lost 306,000 subscribers in the last quarter and that can mostly be attributed to the dispute. Analysts note that the dispute not only affected video subscribers, but those who had bundled other services like phone and internet. Analysts say Time Warner lost those double and triple play customers to companies that also provided bundled services such as Verizon and AT&T. DirecTV also gained some subscribers at Time Warner's expense.

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Time Warner subscribers in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York which had CBS owned-and-operated local stations could not see golf, preseason NFL games, US Open tennis and some local MLB games. In addition, viewers who had gotten hooked on CBS' summer series "Under the Dome" could not see the last episodes of the season.

An industry analyst wrote, "Every cable operator now goes to the table knowing that CBS not only won the war, but left Time Warner Cable badly damaged even for having fought the fight…"

Another said, "These retrans negotiations are destructive to cable operators."

While Time Warner and CBS had a very public dispute that led to a nasty war of words, Disney and Dish are doing their carriage negotiation quietly. Knowing that the argument left a bad odor among subscribers, the two sides are continuing to talk and keeping ESPN/ABC channels online through an extension of an agreement that originally expired back in September.

So the lesson learned is that nobody wins in a carriage dispute in particular the cable provider.

[Advertising Age]

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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