A funny thing happened to the impasse between the cable company and the broadcast network: After two weeks of Time Warner Cable blacking out CBS-owned channels 2 and 9, neither side seems to be hurting all that much. CBS's "Big Brother" was the most-watched show Thursday night, despite not being available in much of L.A. and NY, while Time Warner Cable has not experienced a stampede of cancellations. That means neither player has much leverage over the other (see how much good all that pre-blackout campaigning did?) The biggest losers so far are Dodger fans subscribing to TWC who won't be able to watch Saturday's game against the Phillies or all four games next week against the Marlins in Miami. Analysts are not sounding optimistic about a settlement for at least the next couple of weeks, though in truth a breakthrough might happen at any point. From Businessweek:
True leverage to end the fight may come from the likes of Peyton Manning, Frank Gore, and Victor Cruz--the NFL's first Sunday games are Sept. 8. (That night's Dallas Cowboys-NY Giants game is on NBC.) "If it goes to football season, I think Congress will definitely get involved," says Brian Frederick, a Washington-based spokesman for the American Television Alliance, a coalition of pay-TV companies battling broadcasters over higher retransmission fees. The alliance says that 79 U.S. media markets have been subject to programming blackouts so far in 2013, continuing the trend of three consecutive years of increasing disputes over retransmission fees.
From the WSJ:
The Federal Communications Commission has remained on the sidelines, and experts said it was unlikely the agency would step in to order a restoration of carriage, given what the agency itself has said is its limited authority in such matters. After the last such major standoff, a two-week dispute in 2010 between the Fox network, now owned by 21st Century Fox Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp., the FCC said it would study whether it could better protect consumers during such disputes. (Until June, 21st Century Fox was part of the same company as Wall Street Journal owner News Corp.) But in a policy proposal in 2011 inviting comment from industry on the topic, the FCC acknowledged the limits of its jurisdiction. "We do not believe that we have authority" to require carriage or mandatory binding arbitration proceedings, the agency said.