Fight with CBS cost Time Warner Cable subscribers

Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable says it lost subscribers after CBS pulled the signals of its local TV stations in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Time Warner Cable lost subscribers when CBS pulled the signals of its local TV stations in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, the pay-TV distributor’s chief operating officer said.

“There was a fair amount of pain we had to endure,” said Rob Marcus, who next year will succeed Glenn Britt as chairman and chief executive of the cable operator.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, Marcus declined to provide specifics on how many subscribers the cable giant lost because of the blackout, which ended last week, or the terms of the new deal with CBS.

“It definitely had a subscriber impact. It increased disconnects and we don’t take that lightly,” he said.


ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

To try to make peace with angry subscribers, Time Warner Cable has offered many a free movie on video-on-demand. Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif asked Marcus, “Just one movie? You could’ve done a little better.” She added the offer was “chintzy.”

Marcus was also asked about industry rumblings that Time Warner Cable is trying to insert language into contracts with programmers that would make it more difficult for programmers to sell to emerging technologies.

“By no means do we ever try to somehow restrict the evolution of other business models,” Marcus said. 


ALSO:Better call Shell!

NBCUniversal CEO says NBC lags in profitability

DirecTV among distributors seeking over the top rights

Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

Get our daily Envelope newsletter