After CBS and Verizon reach a new deal, Les Moonves claims Time Warner turned down 'exactly the same deal'

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CBS and Verizon have officially reached a three-year content carriage agreement, which allows for “continued retransmission of CBS owned stations and wider distribution of CBS Sports Network on Verizon’s FIOS TV in multiple markets across the country,” according to a press release.

The deal ensures distribution of CBS-owned stations in multiple Verizon markets, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, areas that are also home to Time Warner Cable subscribers.

“We are very pleased to reach this agreement with Verizon and its FIOS service,” said Ray Hopkins, CBS Corporation president for Television Networks Distribution. “This deal was reached in a short period of time, and CBS has once again achieved fair value for our over-the-air rights. Verizon is a distribution partner of growing importance to us that provides excellent service to its expanding number of subscribers, and we are glad that this partnership will continue and grow.”

This deal with Verizon now puts the spotlight back on Time Warner Cable, particularly after CBS CEO Leslie Moonves sent a memo to his staff claiming that TWC was offered a very similar deal and has yet to move toward an agreement. “You should know that Time Warner Cable has been offered almost exactly the same deal for CBS carriage to which Verizon has agreed,” Moonves said in the memo.

Read Moonves’ entire memo to his staff below:

I am pleased to inform you that today we signed a three-year content carriage agreement with Verizon for its FiOS systems across the country. This important deal was reached swiftly and amicably in just a few days after our conversations began. In it, we achieve fair value for our over-the-air rights, while preserving our streaming rights as well. CBS content will be available to 100% of all Verizon FiOS customers, and we will grow as they do. Our CBS Sports Network will be available on a broader tier, which will add millions of subscribers to that growing business. In short, this is a great deal for CBS and for Verizon, which has 5 million subscribers, the majority in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Those cities may seem familiar to you as you follow our situation with Time Warner Cable. They cover almost precisely the same territory, but Verizon has more subscribers in those markets, where we are now blacked out by that cable company for going on three full weeks now.  You should know that Time Warner Cable has been offered almost exactly the same deal for CBS carriage to which Verizon has agreed.

I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way these negotiations have gone. Never in my most pessimistic moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long and have been so difficult. In many aspects of the deal, Time Warner Cable is demanding different terms than any other company in the business. I am frankly mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency to resolve this matter for their customers.

Still, we’ll keep talking. Today’s announcement makes clear, however, if there was ever any doubt, that we are prepared to move decisively and thoughtfully to achieve a good conclusion for all parties involved in these kinds of negotiations. When Time Warner Cable is ready, we’ll be there.

Congratulations to our great negotiating team on this terrific agreement with Verizon, and thanks to you all, as always, for your support. Leslie

Time Warner Cable had no comment.


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