Articles about "CBS"


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CBS prepared to play rough with affiliates over money

CBS fired an opening salvo in what could become a disruption for network affiliated television stations.

WISH TV, the LIN Broadcasting owned station in Indianapolis will no longer be the CBS affiliate starting January 1, 2015. CBS is moving from LIN owned WISH-TV to the Tribune owned station WTTV, currently the CW affiliate. Tribune also owns the FOX station in Indy.

The move will cost WISH about half of its revenue, according to one media analyst, who added it will serve as a warning to other network affiliated stations. CBS is sending a signal that it is prepared to play rough when it comes to the percentage of revenue that local stations pass along from the retransmission fees that cable companies pay the local stations. In TV terms, the money that an affiliate pays a network is “network compensation” often called “net-comp.” Side note: A couple of decades ago, networks sent compensation to local stations and it is now the other way around.

Local stations hoped that agreements with cable companies would be a stable and significant new income stream. But now, networks, stressed by the high costs of athletic contracts, are putting new pressure on the affiliates to hand over more of the cable income. SNL Kagan, a leading media research firm, says within three to five years local stations may be handing over 50-to-60 percent of their cable retransmission income to the networks. The cost of resisting could be high.

CBS initiated the talks when Tribune approached the network about extending CBS agreements for other stations it owns. CBS spokesman Dana McClintock said the deal has been in the works “for months” and confirms that the cable retransmission fees were a key reason for the Indianapolis affiliate switch. McClintock also agreed that while it is unusual for CBS to change affiliates, it is not unprecedented. And he said cable transmission fees will become a bigger issue in future affiliate negotiations around the country.

Justin Nielson, Sr. Justin Nielson, Research Analyst, SNL Kagan

Justin Nielson, Research Analyst, SNL Kagan

Justin Nielson, Senior Research Analyst for SNL Kagan told Poynter.org that he estimates a CW affiliate in Indianapolis generates $10-$15 million in annual advertising revenue. He estimates that a CBS affiliate generates $30-$40 million a year. “On top of that,” he said, “You would add the cable retransmission income, which would be significantly higher for a CBS station that has more viewers than a CW station.” Nielson said by losing the CBS affiliation, WISH will likely lose millions of dollars in revenue. How much depends on whether the station can land a new affiliation agreement with another network or whether it tries to “go it alone” as a fully independent station, which would be unusual.

WISH TV does not mention the affiliate switch on its website.  The soon to be new CBS affiliate announced the change on it’s co-owned FOX website.

Not only does WISH give up CBS programming including news and entertainment, in Indianapolis, it gives up Colts football.  CBS holds the rights to AFC games.

In a statement posted on its corporate website, Tribune said the new affiliation with CBS means it will add local news:

“This comprehensive agreement further expands our strong partnership with CBS and allows us to provide an array of outstanding programming, including leading live sports, news and entertainment,” said Tribune Broadcasting President Larry Wert. “Through WTTV’s new affiliation, we look forward to significantly enhancing our sports offerings, local news coverage and commitment to the community.”

The shakeup happened just one week after Tribune spun off its broadcasting properties from its print holdings.

WTTV hopes to have local news when it launches the new affiliation January 1, said Jessica Bellucci, Tribune director of communication. She said the Fox station that Tribune owns in Indianapolis already produces more than ten hours of news a day and the CBS station may share a newsroom and some resources. But she said, the CBS station will not just repurpose or repeat stories from the FOX station. Bellucci added Tribune believes the FCC will have no problems with the company owning both a FOX and CBS affiliate in this case.

Tribune also used the opportunity to lock up it’s CBS agreements in Memphis, Huntsville, Ft. Smith Arkansas and Richmond, Virginia. None of those agreements were due, but Tribune and CBS re-upped the agreements early.

LIN media finds itself in a delicate spot.  In March, LIN announced it would merge with Media General. As soon as the news broke about the affiliate change, LIN stock dropped nearly 4 percent, it was off even further on Tuesday. Media General stock dropped about the same amount and also continued to drop on Tuesday. But both have enjoyed highs since their merger announcement and are above 2013 levels. LIN has 10 other CBS affiliates around the country and will have to face CBS negotiations again as affiliation agreements come due.

Other network affiliates will be watching what happened in Indianapolis, Nielson said. “CBS has significant costs to cover, including its new NFL Thursday night football rights.”  And while he expects networks to stay with their current affiliates if they can, the shakeup in Indianapolis this week sends a signal that networks are willing to change channels if another owner is willing to pay what the network wants. Read more

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Tennis, Obama interview muted CBS’ rollout of Assad exclusive

Associated Press

Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad was ready at an awkward time for CBS, David Bauder reports.

Not only did “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley have an interview with President Obama, “the evening news was pre-empted on all but the West Coast by CBS Sports’ telecast of the U.S. Open men’s tennis finals.” Read more

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Katie Couric, Sean McManus

Time Warner offers to ‘unbundle’ CBS channels

Robert Marcus, the incoming CEO Time Warner Cable offered to “unbundle” CBS programming as a way to get the network back on the cable system. Time Warner blocked CBS programs in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and in parts of a number of other markets in a dispute over the cable company’s rights to carry CBS’ programs.

Until now, the battle has affected only CBS-owned stations serving customers also served by Time Warner.  But now, Time Warner is opening the door to an idea that until now, cable companies have vigorously resisted.

The offer, in a letter from Marcus to CBS, would allow customers to decide if they wanted CBS programming and if so, they would pay specifically for that.

In other words, the new offer includes allowing Time Warner Cable customers to choose a plan that includes CBS or not. Read more

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Time Warner blacks out CBS stations in major markets

USA Today | Variety | Los Angeles Times | The Wall Street Journal

At  5 p.m. EDT Friday, Time Warner Cable began blacking out CBS programming in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago. The blackout follows contentious negotiations between the network and cable company over retransmission fees, which cable companies pay TV stations for the rights to carry their signals. Three million subscribers are affected.

For some stations, such as WBZ, KCNC, WKBD and KDKA, the blackout only affects part of their coverage areas, where Time Warner Cable is the provider, but not the main metro areas they serve. Variety’s Todd Spangler lists the affected stations:

Those stations are: WCBS and WLNY (independent) in New York; KCBS and KCAL (independent) in L.A.; KTVT and KTXA (independent) in Dallas; WBZ and WSBK (independent) in Boston; KDKA and WPCW (The CW) in Pittsburgh; WBBM in Chicago; WKBD (The CW) in Detroit; and KCNC in Denver.

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Aereo files suit against CBS as it moves into Boston

The Verge | CNET
The television service Aereo has filed suit against CBS Monday as it moves to the Boston market.

The litigation, strange though it may seem, is an effort to quell any future lawsuits brought by the broadcast networks against Aereo. The Internet startup has been at the receiving end of several suits filed by NBC, ABC, Fox and CBS; the companies have sued to protect their copyright over their broadcast programs. Read more

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ABC, CBS and other networks take second swing at Aereo

The Wrap | New York Times

Aereo’s honeymoon is over, as broadcast networks re-filed their petitions for an injunction this morning.

As The Wrap reports, ABC, CBS, NBC Universal and Fox Television Stations are among the parties who have asked judges to reconsider the 2nd Circuit District Appeals Court’s decision from earlier this month. The decision came down in favor of Aereo, whom the court ruled was not in violation of copyright law.

The networks’ complaints stem from Aereo’s business model. Aereo provides a live stream of broadcast television to its subscribers via a live Internet feed. The court’s ruling hinged on the fact that Aereo uses an individual antenna for each subscriber; the judges in a 2-1 decision said this constituted a “private” rather than “public” performance, which meant Aereo is in the clear.

The networks have filed suit against Aereo to stop the company from transmitting their broadcasts without giving the networks compensation. Speaking from the NAB Show last week in Las Vegas, News Corp. President and COO Chase Carey  threatened to move Fox’s broadcast channels to cable if Aereo continued to win in the courts. Read more

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CBS asks for tax break for Super Bowl week coverage

The Lens

CBS broadcast its show “The Talk” from New Orleans in the week leading up to Super Bowl and is asking for a $700,000 tax credit, Tyler Bridges reports.

“The Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit statute specifically excludes televised news and sporting events from eligibility; therefore, the filming and distribution of a game such as the Super Bowl would be ineligible to receive motion picture tax credits in Louisiana,” Lousiana Economic Development’s Chris Stelly told Bridges. “However, talk shows that are filmed in Louisiana are eligible.”

Stelly told Bridges “The Talk” would probably get the credit. Read more

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Greg Sandoval, who quit CNET, joins The Verge

Greg Sandoval | The New York Times
I’m saved,” Greg Sandoval wrote on his blog Sunday, announcing he was joining tech site The Verge as a senior reporter. Sandoval quit his previous employer CNET after he announced on Twitter, “I no longer have confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence.” CBS owns CNET and forbade the site to give an award to a product from Dish Network, with which it is engaged in litigation.

He’s obsessed with getting the news — the real news — and I find that kind of energy infectious,” Verge Editor-in-Chief Joshua Topolsky told Brian Stelter.

Sandoval writes that he has a “written guarantee from management that nobody from the business side of the company will ever have any authority over my stories.”

Related: Carl Franzen also joins The Verge; he comes from Talking Points Memo, where he was a tech reporter.

Previously: CNET reporter quits after reports that CBS impinged on editorial decision | CBS again impinges on CNET’s editorial independence | In BitTorrent case, CBS argues for CNET’s editorial independence Read more

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In BitTorrent case, CBS argues for CNET’s editorial independence

The Hollywood Reporter | Poynter
CBS is fighting an injunction that would bar its tech publication CNET from reporting on BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing technology, Eriq Gardner reports. “[T]he public interest would be damaged by denying legitimate and truthful information about a pervasive technology, as well as by impending noninfringing uses,” CBS’ lawyers argue in the suit, which was filed by Greek billionaire Alki David and some musicians.

CBS’ defense of CNET’s editorial independence in this instance may seem dissonant given its recent clampdowns on CNET’s ability to report on technologies produced by companies with whom CBS is engaged in litigation. CBS prohibited CNET from granting an award to a Dish Network product and won’t let the publication review TV-streaming service Aereo. Read more

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CBS again impinges on CNET’s editorial independence

The Verge | Jim Romenesko
John P. Falcone’s CNET story about TV-streaming service Aereo carries an unusual, and prominent, notice three paragraphs in:

Disclosure: CBS, the parent corporation of CNET, is currently in active litigation with Aereo as to the legality of its service. As a result of that conflict of interest, CNET cannot review that service going forward.

CBS had previously barred CNET from giving an award to a Dish Network product at the Consumer Electronics Show because it was in litigation with Dish.

This is the first time we’re seeing that broader policy applied to another company,” Tim Carmody writes in The Verge.

CNET and its staff have been put in an extraordinarily difficult position by CBS. They have to prove that what remains of their editorial independence is full and robust. They have to cover news controversies involving their publication and its parent company; these controversies necessarily involve some evaluation of the value of products and competing legal claims. And they have to do it without further antagonizing or embarrassing CBS.

It’s not clear if anyone knows how or whether this can be done. This, so far, is how CNET is trying to thread the needle.

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