CBS/Time Warner spat becomes public war of words

The network and the cable provider are at odds over fees and are pointing the finger at each other in hopes of getting the public on their side.

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Time Warner and CBS are specifically at odds over payments called “retransmission consent” fees, which cable providers pay broadcasters for the right to carry their channels. CBS asked for an increase of 100 percent in the fees it receives, from $1 to $2 per subscriber. Time Warner refuses to pay it, though some of the largest cable networks, namely ESPN, command $5 per subscriber.

The stalemate has entered its fourth day—Time Warner cut off CBS and Showtime in some of its markets Friday—and both companies are turning to the public for the upper hand.

Both companies took out full-page ads in newspapers, the Associated Press reports. One of CBS’ ads showed a TV displaying “The Big Bang Theory” and “Big Brother,” among other shows, along with the message, “Call Time Warner Cable now. Tell them you want your CBS 2 back!”

Surprisingly, some of Time Warner’s messaging seems to be encouraging viewers to watch CBS through an antenna.

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