Today's Time Warner/CBS dispute news links: Frustration, piracy, predictions, rebates & ratings

As you can imagine, I'm not the only one writing about this. Here's a taste of what some media are focusing on in this battle.

Fern Siegel is a deputy editor at MediaPost and you can hear her frustration:
Assuming you, like me, have been following the exploits of America’s favorite serial killer — or avenging angel, as Dexter sees himself — for years, the frustration is acute! Added diss: The day after I lost the ability to watch the first of the three final episodes, TWC raised my cable price.

Oh, the humanity.

And it did so, while running a statement on TV that read, in part, it was committed to “reasonable rates.”
This is what is known as irony.

After all, when the shouting is over, whatever the resolution, TWC customers will be stuck with the bill, which unlike the stock market, is on a perennial upswing.
Wired Magazine reports that the big winner so far in this dispute is piracy:
Viewers of new CBS hit Under the Dome didn’t seem to be moved by either side’s argument, looking elsewhere for ways in which to keep up with the latest episodes of the series. According to the Torrent Freak blog, “In New York City, one of the largest affected markets, the relative piracy rate more than doubled from 1.3 percent of all U.S. downloads last week to 3 percent for the episode that aired after the blackout.”

In fact, Under the Dome piracy spiked in each of the areas affected by the TWC blackout, jumping 34 percent from the previous week’s episode. This localized increase coincided with a slight drop for the episode in terms of overall downloads for the episode internationally.

At the infomitv website where they are in the business of convergence, this look into the future from cable operator Cablevision boss James Dolan inspired by the dispute and his own home situation:
"Dolan ... told the Wall Street Journal 'there could come a day' when his company makes broadband its primary offering. He also suggested that the cable television industry is in a 'bubble' that will turn out 'badly' as young people opt to watch online video rather than pay for bundles of channels that they do not want. He admits that he rarely watches television and then often with his young children, who prefer to use Netflix over Cablevision broadband.

These rather surprising statements can be seen in the context of posturing by cable operators at the increasing cost of retransmission fees collected by broadcast channels.
Another prediction comes from the financial world, this one more immediate. Benzinga.com reports on analyst Brian Wieser's comments that it will be CBS who comes out the victor here:
According to Wieser, Time Warner is holding out in order to "inflict maximum damage on CBS." He noted that they're both trying to "hurt each other as much as possible."

Time Warner will ultimately lose the standoff, Wieser said.

"You think that the broadcast networks would be more invested in, let's say, the long term future health of the distributors, but they know that there are plenty of other channels to distribute content going forward. The big risk, frankly, from the broadcaster's side, is regulatory reform," said Wieser.
At the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik reports on his phone call to Time Warner Cable to find out what his rebate from the company will be for not having CBS and Showtime channel access. They told him four bucks a week:
Before I persuaded her to make the calculation, she fed me the standard Time Warner line: because no one knows how long the blackout will last, the cable company doesn't want to give subscribers an estimate of their rebate. Of course, the real reason may be its embarrassment at the paltry recompense or its fear that its plans will spark an uproar. An uproar is appropriate. 
Finally, from a site called Fierce Cable that purports to be a source for cable system executives, this about local news ratings on CBS owned stations that have been pulled in Time Warner markets:
CBS's KCBS-TV station in Los Angeles saw the viewer count for its 5 p.m. newscast drop by 33 percent from Aug. 5-8 compared to the same days the previous week, and the viewer count for its 11 p.m. newscast dropped 25 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It's a similar story in Dallas, where KTVT-TV has seen viewing for its 6 p.m. newscast fall 19 percent, while its 11 p.m. newscast is down 13 percent. The Eye Network's WCBS-TV station in New York has seen viewing for its 11 p.m. newscast drop 17 percent, according to the report.

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