Time Warner Cable subscribers may see the nation's most-watched network disappear from their screens after 11:59 p.m. on July 24 unless the companies can agree on a new retransmission consent agreement. Time Warner is the second-largest cable-TV operator in the U.S., after Comcast, and is the principal one in such major markets as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. CBS claimed on Thursday that Time Warner is refusing to negotiate the same sort of deal that all other cable, satellite and telco companies have struck with CBS. For its part, the cable company maintained that CBS's demands for fee increases were unreasonable and unprecedented. In a note to clients BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield observed that in the past the cable companies have been forced to knuckle under to the demands of the networks. However, the more we think through the situation, the more we believe this could be the perfect opportunity for Time Warner Cable to take a hard stand against CBS to change the future of retrans. He notes that the cable company could partner with Aereo to offer Aereo's antenna system to subscribers in New York and Dallas. Moreover, he notes, CBS is in the midst of summer rerun programming, with its only major new scripted show, Under the Dome, available via Amazon four days after broadcast. The first big squawks from subscribers about a loss of CBS programming probably wouldn't occur until football season begins in September. While a CBS blackout would clearly be painful for Time Warner Cable, the first real pain would likely not be felt for at least 60 days, which is a LONG time for CBS to be dark in New York and LA, the two largest advertising markets, Greenfield observed.
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