Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time Warner/Brighthouse Drops Showtime

Showtime Cast Members

Every couple of years, cable TV providers (like Time Warner/Brighthouse) and cable TV content providers play a game of chicken.  But it is we the viewers who get knocked to the side of the road.

They have have gone too far. Time Warner/Brighthouse has removed Showtime. Or is it vice-versa? Each blames the other.

Is it time for me to switch cable providers or should I cut the cable and get a Netflix subscription?

Time Warner you have until Sunday 9pm to get Showtime back up or you are history in my house.

Time Warner drops Showtime and Showtime loses millions a day in fees. This puts the pressure on Showtime.  (So no, Showtime is not the good guy it wants you to think it is by offering to not pull its shows.) Showtime gets its licks in by telling viewers to call Time Warner to complain and to switch cable channels.

And we are caught in the middle. Switch cable providers only to have the same thing happen next year with the new provider? Or do we just tough it out and hope it is over in a day or two?

I complained via email to Time Warner and got this in reply.
As of 5 p.m. ET on August 2, 2013 our agreement with CBS Corporation has expired. Channels affected include Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix, Smithsonian and CBS content on Primetime on Demand. It is important for our customers to know that we carry hundreds of channels and agreements are being negotiated and renewed all the time. Normally, these situations eventually get resolved, so we believe this is a temporary situation.
 
If you had not seen information regarding the negotiations prior to the signal no longer being available to you, below you will find an overview of the situation and helpful viewing options regarding CBS Corporation's programming.
 
As a valued Bright House Networks customer, it is important for you to know the following:
 
- This happens to other providers too. In fact, in 2012 alone, there were nearly 100 blackouts of local TV stations across cable, satellite and telephone company distributors, according to the American Television Viewer Alliance.
 
- Customers who currently pay to subscribe to Showtime or The Movie Channel will have credits applied to their account automatically, based on how many days the programming is unavailable. Depending on your billing cycle, you may see credits on both your August and September statements.
 
- We believe broadcaster blackouts are wrong. Despite CBS Corporation's blackout, we expect negotiations to continue and anticipate that the channels will be returned to the lineup shortly.

 - Get the latest updates about the blackout and what channels are affected in your immediate area at http://onyourside.brighthouse.com.


I also learned that CBS is affected and you may not be able to get CBS programming online.  I checked Hulu, Nefliix, iTunes and amazon.  So far as I can tell recent episodes are not available.  Does anyone have information? I guess the best bet is to find a friend who has a different cable provider.
Read the latst info on my August 13 post.

Learn how to contact CBS Showtime on my August 9 post.

Update: The dispute is over and Showtime and CBS are back on Time Warner Cable as of Monday September 2nd at 3 pm.