TVBizwire

Time Warner Cable CEO Threatens to Drop Networks Bloomberg

Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt said his company -- the nation’s second-largest cable company -- may drop low-rated networks when their contracts run out, Bloomberg reports.

The move would be an effort to counter increasing prices for pay-television content.

Speaking at a conference today in New York hosted by UBS AG, Britt cautioned content providers that distribution on TWC systems “is not a birthright,” the piece reports.

Said Britt: “If you have a network that is getting hash-mark ratings and no real sign it’s going to get any better, we’re going to have a different kind of conversation than we might have had five, six or 10 years ago.”

The piece adds: “Time Warner Cable’s programming costs since 2008 have increased about 30 percent, leading to a 15 percent increase in cable-TV prices, Britt said. The trends are unsustainable as prices rise too quickly for many people to afford, he said.”

However, scrapping low-rated channels won’t necessarily be a simple matter.

“Dropping low-rated networks can be a tricky decision because their owners often bundle them with higher-rated channels, forcing U.S. cable companies to pay for all of them or lose access to networks they would otherwise want to keep,” the story reports. “Britt declined to say how New York-based Time Warner Cable would deal with the dilemma of potentially losing popular channels.”