Nobody was seriously expecting CBS and Time Warner Cable to continue their absurd argument over how much to raise your cable bill once the NFL got involved. And, surprise surprise, it didn’t! CBS is back on Time Warner Cable systems… but how long will it last?
Unfortunately, the terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, although once bills start arriving we’ll know more, since there’s no way the customer isn’t ultimately footing this cost. But either way, it’s back, but this is just the start of what will likely be a long and awkward discussion.
It’s pretty clear, considering that both sides announced this over a holiday, that neither side is really happy. Generally when you try to bury bad news you don’t want anybody to hear or notice, you do it when people are out having beers and grilling meat. That means stockholders, when they get a load of the deal, are going to be upset. Time Warner had to give something up, and so did CBS, but just what will take a while for us to find out.
And if you were wondering if this means that we’re going to see more of these blackouts, the answer to that is “yes.” Both cable companies and broadcast networks were really hoping for a knockout; broadcast networks want to hike retransmission fees with impunity, and cable companies are starting to nervously eye the cord-cutting that followed CBS going off the air and consumer solutions to problems like this such as the rapidly-spreading Aereo. Neither side got what they wanted out of this, meaning the rest of us will have to deal with blackouts for a long time to come.
In other words, if you want to watch sports? Start getting something into place to get around cable blackouts now; you won’t regret it.