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CBS' Moonves says company wasn't hurt by Time Warner Cable blackout

CBS' Moonves says company wasn't hurt by Time Warner Cable blackout
Leslie Moonves said CBS is sorry the broadcaster's dispute with Time Warner Cable caused headaches for viewers. (Associated Press/Monty Brinton)

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the monthlong blackout of the network's TV stations in more than 3 million Time Warner Cable homes won't hurt the company's bottom line.

Speaking at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Media Communications and  Entertainment Conference, Moonves replied "virtually nothing" when asked what the economic implications were of the blackout, which ended last week.

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Moonves said CBS was sorry about the outage and the headaches it caused consumers, and he added that he thought what happened with Time Warner Cable will "make these negotiations less contentious."

The dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable, which led to the network's TV signals being off for a month in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, prompted some industry executives to call for government intervention. Those calls continue, even though CBS and Time Warner Cable have reached a new agreement.

But Moonves said the government should not get in the middle of disagreements between programmers and distributors.

"We believe in the free marketplace. So did the cable companies when they had a bit of monopoly," Moonves said.

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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