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Marcus: CBS Fight Had Some Sub Impact

Time Warner Cable Chief Operating Officer Rob Marcus said there was likely a subscriber impact resulting from its month-long retransmission consent carriage dispute with CBS, but that the stand-off was needed to achieve its long-term goals.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Entertainment and Communications conference in Los Angeles Wednesday, Marcus wouldn't give specifics on the subscriber impact, but said the loss of the top rated broadcaster in three top market as well as the loss of premium channel Showtime across its entire footprint undoubtedly caused some customers to leave.

CBS went dark to about 3.2 million TWC customers in New York, Los Angles and Dallas on Aug. 2, returning a month later on Sept. 2. While carriage fees were at the initial heart of the matter – CBS had originally wanted $2 per subscriber per month in retrans fees from the second largest MSO in the country – the battle  morphed into a fight over digital programming rights in its later stages.

"The absence of CBS O&O's in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas and the absence of Showtime across our entire footprint, definitely had a subscriber impact," Marcus said. "It suppressed connects on the front end and it increased disconnects of existing customers. But the issues that were at stake in this negotiation had such significant implications and long-term implications, that we felt like we were left with  no choice. So while there was a fair amount of pain that we had to endure, at the end of the day we felt like in order to achieve our longer term business objectives, that was the only path."

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