CBS Calls TWC’s New Offer A ‘Sham’

UPDATED: Digital rights a sticking point, a la carte proposed
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UPDATED 5:38 p.m. ET

CBS dismissed Time Warner Cable’s offer to get CBS’s stations back to cable subscribers as a  “sham.”

“Today’s so-called proposal is a sham, a public relations vehicle designed to distract from the fact that Time Warner Cable is not negotiating in good faith.  Anyone familiar with the entertainment business knows that the economics and structure of the cable industry doesn’t work that way and isn’t likely to for quite some time. In short, this was an empty gesture from a company that is expert at them,” CBS said in a statement

After a weekend with CBS stations off its systems and no negotiations, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt sent a letter to CBS CEO Les Moonves offering some proposals for returning the stations to its subscribers.

One of Britt’s offers was to resume carriage with what he called "new economics" TWC agreed to during negotiations, while leaving other terms in place.

Another was making CBS stations available to subscribers on an a la carte basis, with 100% of the price being remitted to CBS.

Of the first option, Britt said "although those terms are not ideal to CBS or TWC, and would leave TWC and our customers without the digital rights that CBS has provided to others, since both parties have lived under those terms productively for many years, we believe we should continue to live with them in the interest of restoring CBS immediately for the benefit of consumers."

Britt said the a la carte idea would mean that "rather than debating the point, we would allow customers to decide for themselves how much value they ascribe to CBS programming."

A CBS spokesperson said CBS "received Mr. Britt's ‘offer' simultaneous with its release to the media," and that it was formulating a response.

Responding to CBS’ rejection, Time Warner Cable said: “Our efforts to get CBS programming back for our customers are sincere, and we have offered two proposals to accomplish that, while CBS has offered nothing in return. In addition to our a la carte proposal, we've offered an increase and the exact same contractual terms both companies have successfully operated under for nearly five years. We cannot understand why that is not enough for CBS. We're disappointed in their lack of responsiveness, particularly to our request for them to quit unfairly blocking the free content available on CBS.com from our Internet customers. We hope they will return to the table to negotiate in good faith on behalf of our customers and their viewers.”

Read page 1 of TWC CEO Glenn Britt's letter to CBS CEO Les Moonves here.

Read page 2 of TWC CEO Glenn Britt's letter to CBS CEO Les Moonves here.

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