The retrans row between Time Warner Cable and CBS has hit a new low after the content firm rejected out of hand an offer to show its programmes on an à la carte basis.
In an open letter to CBS president and CEO Les Moonves, TWC chairman and CEO Glen Britt proposed that the two firms immediately agree to resume carriage with new economics restoring popular programmes to screens after the dispute had seen CBS disappear from the bouquets of TWC customers once the contract between the two companies expired.
Claiming to be acting for the benefit of consumers, Britt offered to engage in a new model for carriage if CBS was still insistent in asking for fees which have been described by TWC as “unprecedented, unreasonable and unacceptable”.
In his letter, Britt said: “We write to propose that CBS and Time Warner Cable immediately agree to resume carriage with the new economics TWC reluctantly agreed to during our negotiations, while employing all the other terms and conditions of our recently expired contracts. Although those terms are not ideal to CBS or TWC … we believe we should continue to live with them in the interest of restoring CBS immediately for the benefit of consumers. Alternatively, if you are unwilling to agree to this proposal, we would also be willing to resume carriage by allowing CBS to make its stations available on an à la carte basis and on terms of its choosing, with 100% of that price remitted to CBS. This way, rather than debating the point, we would allow customers to decide for themselves how much value they ascribe to CBS programming."
Britt also called on CBS to cease immediately its blocking of CBS.com content to TWC broadband customers, whether or not it accepted or rejected the proposals. However, he did not have to wait long for an answer, with a CBS spokesperson, as quoted by Reuters news agency, slamming the new offer as “a sham” and “a public relations vehicle designed to distract from the fact that Time Warner Cable is not negotiating in good faith".