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Cable Companies

September 11, 2013 | By Joe Flint
CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said the monthlong blackout of the network's TV stations in more than 3 million Time Warner Cable homes won't hurt the company's bottom line. Speaking at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Media Communications and  Entertainment Conference, Moonves replied "virtually nothing" when asked what the economic implications were of the blackout, which ended last week. Moonves said CBS was sorry about the outage and the headaches it caused consumers, and he added that he thought what happened with Time Warner Cable will "make these negotiations less contentious.
September 3, 2013 | By Meg James
Cord-cutting continues to nibble away at the U.S. pay-TV industry. According to a SNL Kagan report released Tuesday, the industry suffered a net loss of 217,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. The report also showed that traditional cable companies -- including Time Warner Cable -- are losing more subscribers to satellite and telecommunications competitors that also offer video service. The report illustrated why Time Warner Cable had little choice but to settle its contentious dispute with CBS Corp., which led to a monthlong blackout of CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.
May 10, 2013
Re "Give TV subscribers more choices," Column, May 7 For satellite and cable TV viewers, I would propose something like the Disneyland ticket book the park had until the early 1980s. In this case, customers would buy their service and get to choose a designated number of programs to watch; everyone would get a few vouchers equivalent to Disneyland's old "E" ticket, which allowed access to the newest and most popular attractions. That and some competition between the cable companies would be welcomed.
March 21, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before getting my own late-night show. The Skinny: I went to the "Mad Men" party and bumped into Jon Hamm in the men's room. That's about as exciting as it gets for me these days. Thursday's headlines include the latest news on the Jay Leno-Jimmy Fallon front. Daily Dose: The economy may be showing some signs of turning around (although not in my world), but it's not trickling down to the pay-TV business. Although the number of people subscribing to a pay-TV service didn't decline in 2012, it  grew only by 46,000.
March 19, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Media mogul John Malone is returning to his roots. Malone's Liberty Media is acquiring 27% of cable television operator Charter Communications for $2.62 billion. Liberty is buying 26.9 million Charter shares and 1.1 million warrants at a per-share price of $95.50 from private equity firms Apollo Management, Oaktree Capital Management and Crestview Partners. As part of the agreement, Liberty will have four seats on the Charter board. In return, Liberty said it would keep its holdings in Charter under 40% and not engage in lobbying on behalf of other potential board members as long as its own spots on the board were safe.
February 27, 2013 | By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times
A New York cable company fired the opening salvo in a long-anticipated media war that could give consumers more choices in subscribing to pay television - and upend the way companies have long done business. Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. filed suit Tuesday in federal court in New York accusing Viacom Inc., parent of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, of anti-competitive behavior. At issue is whether Viacom uses its leverage to force distributors such as Cablevision to carry low-rated networks in return for access to its popular channels, a practice known in the industry as bundling.
February 1, 2013
Re "Cable rates on rise as users fall," Column, Jan. 29 The problems with cable companies are not limited to the rate increases. Some channels cannot be viewed simply because certain carriers refuse to offer them. For example, the new Pac-12 Network has exclusive rights to televise certain college sporting events in that conference. So if you are a UCLA or USC football or basketball fan and your cable company has not bought into the Pac-12 Network, you will be unable to view many of the games you'd like to see - at any price.
January 23, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Few cable companies have been as vocal about the rising costs of sports programming as Time Warner Cable. "What was a minor problem is turning into an astronomical problem," Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt told the Wall Street Journal just over a year ago. "The ultimate solution is to get that programming on some sort of smaller packaging scheme. " But Britt's words don't match up with Time Warner Cable's actions. As of late, few cable companies have been as instrumental in driving up sports costs as Time Warner Cable.
December 18, 2012 | By Meg James
Time Warner Cable plans to drop the small Santa Monica-based channel Ovation from its programming lineup at year's end -- a blow to the independent network that has attempted to elevate TV coverage of the arts and contemporary culture. The nation's second-largest cable television provider said its decision came down to simple economics. There hasn't been enough demand for the channel, which was seeking a modest rate increase when negotiations over a new distribution agreement stalled several months ago. “Steeply escalating programming costs are forcing us to closely assess each network as it comes up for renewal,” Time Warner Cable said Tuesday in a statement.
December 5, 2012
Re "Sports cost, even if you don't watch," Dec. 2 The story about all cable and satellite customers paying the cost of sports channels even when not watched left out an alternative: an antenna. A year ago I installed a rooftop antenna; those who live in areas with strong signals can probably get by with new rabbit ear-type antennas. My TV now receives 45 channels, many in glorious high definition, for free. Recently I added an online video box, and the free content is beyond amazing.
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