UPDATE: Time Warner Cable says in response that it “partnered directly with the Lakers and Dodgers to cut out the expensive middleman and save our customers money in the long run. Since CBS O&O KCAL was, in fact, that middleman, it’s no surprise they disagree with our actions. We do find it ironic, however, that CBS would question moving sports off of broadcast, when they themselves announced in May that they were moving the Final Four to cable.” The cable company adds that ratings for Lakers games on TWC Sportsnet “are strong, and we just won six Emmy Awards last weekend.”
PREVIOUS, 9:09 AM: Was Time Warner Cable being hypocritical this week when it proposed to carry CBS-owned stations on an a la carte basis — which CEO Les Moonves rejected as PR “grandstanding”? The broadcaster distributed evidence today to support that view, including a class action suit filed in June that accused Time Warner Cable of abusing its distribution clout in Southern California by failing to give subscribers a choice to pay for TWC channels that offer Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers games. “Half of LA Lakers games used to be on free over-the-air TV before TWC outbid everyone for the rights for $3 billion,” CBS says. Subscribers who receive the Lakers channel now have to pay $4 a month “whether they watch the games or not. This works out to $49 per subscriber for 52 exclusive games this year, or nearly $1/game.” TWC also paid $8B for rights to Dodgers baseball. That could bite next year when, CBS says, “the Dodgers will reportedly also move from free over-the-air TV to a newly created TWC Dodgers channel that by industry estimates will cost even more than $4 per subscriber per month. Neither the Lakers nor Dodgers TWC channels are available to consumers on an a la carte basis.” In addition, CBS says that TWC charges Los Angeles-area customers $20 a month for broadcast TV — a statistic that local regulations require the cable company to disclose. “This is 54% higher than they charged just two years ago, during which time it’s been made known that both the Lakers and Dodgers have been removed from broadcast. Time Warner Cable has yet to address this matter publicly.” Millions of TWC customers have been without CBS and its cable networks including Showtime since Friday when the companies failed to reach an agreement over the fees the cable company should pay for the programming.
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