Comcast & CBS: Next Retrans Battle
February 23, 2007 2:52 PM
CBS just scored a major victory with nine small cable operators who agreed to pay the network about 50 cents per cable subscriber to continue to carry the signal, during a retransmission consent negotiation.
Cable subscribers in those undisclosed markets should be mad as hell because cable operators will be forced to pass on that increase to them. So don’t be mad at your cable operator. Instead, give CBS chieftain Les Moonves who is at the head of this charge, an earful when you see your cable bill soar, just to see a free, over-the air broadcast network.
Soon CBS will tangle with Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest MSO with 23 million subscribers. Comcast has vowed that it will not pay cash to carry any over-the air broadcast network. But the law is on the side of CBS here. I predict Comcast will ask for a 30-day extension, in the opening salvos of the next war between broadcast nets and cable ops.
The timing is interesting, for both sides have a lot to lose. After all, the wildly popular March Madness college hoops tournament is right around the corner. CBS cannot afford to lose 23 million viewers and nor can Comcast afford to face the wrath of its subscribers either, if the MSO has to pass out rabbit ears to carry the signal.
Who will win this battle between two giant corporate egos?