A recorded message informed me that the money I have already paid for the blocked Showtime channels would be refunded “on a future bill.” The representative said the charge for our CBS affiliate wasn’t being similarly credited, and couldn’t tell me how much CBS costs each subscriber. “It’s bundled,” she told me, as TWC corporate did. “You’re basically paying for the package.” So I asked how much that package is — so that we could figure up, basically, how much of that package pays for CBS.
“CBS is considered part of our basic package,” she told me. “You’re paying 12 dollars and 34 cents a month for it.”
There are, according to their website, 62 channels in that basic package (not counting the music services), so we’re paying 19 cents per channel, on the average. So 600% of that 19 cents would be $1.14 per month. But let’s assume that CBS charges more than, say, “Russia Today.” We’re still talking pennies here, right? Right. Buried deep in a Reuters article on the blackout is this information: “RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank estimated that CBS currently receives $1 a month per subscriber and is seeking to double the amount.”
Is CBS acting admirably here? Hardly. Because of the bass-ackwards way that Nielsens are so heavily weighted towards older viewers who (get ready to have your mind blown by this concept) watch television shows live, as they air, CBS’s elderly-friendly programming has created the false impression that they’re the only broadcast network that anybody watches. So yes, they’re taking advantage of that position to make more money.
But really look at that figure. They’re asking for another dollar per month from Time-Warner Cable, a company that already excessively gouges the few remaining customers that aren’t fleeing to Aereo service and Roku boxes. That dollar is what’s making the company fold its arms and refuse to budge, all the while trying to play the role of the concerned consumer advocate. In its latest TV spot, the company insists, “It’s wrong to withhold your programming, and we are determined to bring it back,” which is pretty hilarious when you consider that TWC is blocking CBS and Showtime from their customers (not the other way around), which most sane people would define as “withholding your programming.”
It’s a dollar a month, Time-Warner. You’re already charging me many more dollars than that, so enough with the bullshit line about how “we continue to fight hard to keep their prices down.” Just add another buck to my bill and let me have Letterman and Ferguson back.