Will The Roadrunner Hightail It Or The Eye Blink?
One day ahead of the expiration of Time Warner Cable's carriage contract with CBS, each side appears to be standing firm. CBS seems determined to win a substantial increase in its retransmission fee -- at least twice what it currently receives; and TWC seems determined not to pay it. CBS undoubtedly has weighed what it will lose from reduced ad rates during a blackout against what it could potentially gain over the long run from the additional cable revenue. By the same token, TWC execs must certainly be aware that if they knuckle under to CBS's demands, they will face similar ones from the other broadcast networks. On the other hand, will they now lose subscribers to satellite services and Aereo if they stand firm? While the cable companies have usually ended up losers in these disputes, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield argued in a note to clients on Monday that CBS may be overestimating its leverage. We strongly urge CBS management to reach an agreement with Time Warner Cable prior to Wednesday's deadline, as we believe the long-term repercussions to CBS could be quite problematic, he wrote, noting that one of those repercussions could be the loss of the prime Channel 2 dial positions in New York and Los Angeles.