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UPDATE: DirecTV Says Pay TV Rivals “Have No Interest In Paying For Time Warner Cable’s Excess”

UPDATE: DirecTV Says Pay TV Rivals “Have No Interest In Paying For Time Warner Cable’s Excess”UPDATE: 5:37PM: The company behind SportsNet LA isn’t getting any sympathy from the country’s top satellite TV provider regarding the impasse over Dodgers telecasts in Los Angeles. DirecTV issued an unambiguous statement today in the wake of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler blaming Time Warner Cable for the mess and threatening to take action if it isn’t resolved soon. And the satcaster believes it speaks for a number of pay TV rivals: “We agree with DirecTV logoCongressman Sherman that any loyal Dodger fans deserve the opportunity to see games,” DirecTV said, “yet not at the expense of the millions of other AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications, Verizon FiOS and other families who have little or no interest in paying for Time Warner Cable’s excess. Rather than force everyone to bail Time Warner Cable out, the simplest solution is to enable only those who want to pay to see the remaining Dodgers games to do so at the price Time Warner Cable wants to set.”

Related: Time Warner Cable, DirecTV In Stalemate Over Dodgers Channel

Earlier today, TWC said it was open to having an arbitrator settle the matter, but DirecTV has shown no interest in that idea. “We are willing to enter into binding arbitration with DirecTV, and we appreciate the Congressman’s concern for Dodger fans,” TWC spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi said in a statement. “We prefer to reach agreements through private business negotiations, but given the current circumstance, we are willing to agree to binding arbitration and to allow DirecTV customers to watch the Dodgers games while the arbitration is concluded

Time Warner Cable logoPREVIOUSLY: 1:17PM: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has had it with the disputes that have kept most Los Angeles area pay TV customers from seeing the Dodgers — whose local TV rights are controlled by Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA. “Inaction is no longer acceptable,” Wheeler says in a tough letter today to TWC chief Rob Marcus. “I strongly urge you to end the impasses that are depriving Los Angeles consumers from being able to watch their home baseball team.” He adds that the FCC “intends to monitor this situation closely in order to determine whether intervention is appropriate and necessary.”

Related: DirecTV CEO Says He’s Seen “Immaterial” Sub Loss Without Dodgers Channel

Announced early last year, SportsNet LA was born out of the 25-year, multibillion-dollar deal Time Warner Cable inked with the Dodgers for broadcast rights. Sources say TWC is seeking $4-$5 per subscriber per month for channel in the first year of the contract. Roughly 70% of LA remains without SportsNet including DirecTV, which has close to a 30% share of the market with more than 1.2 million subs. Read More »

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DirecTV CEO Says He’s Seen “Immaterial” Sub Loss Without Dodgers Channel

By | Tuesday May 6, 2014 @ 12:10pm PDT

Doesn’t sound like DirecTV customers will see Los Angeles Dodgers games on Time Warner Cable‘s SportsNet LA any time soon. Dodgers SportsNetThe No. 2 cable company’s $8.35B, 25-year commitment for distribution rights was “an unprecedented deal above any rational view of the market” — especially considering baseball’s six-month season — DirecTV CEO Michael White told analysts in a conference call. “We’d still like to carry the Dodgers. We’re still having discussions with Time Warner Cable about it.” But he chafes at the price TWC wants, reportedly $4 per month direcTV__130523212608for each subscriber who receives the channel. “It’s a tax on most customers who wouldn’t pay it if they had a choice.” Last month TWC’s Rob Marcus said that the cable company is adding subs from Dodgers fans who can’t see SportsNet LA on any other pay TV service (except for closely allied Bright House). But White says DirecTV’s churn in LA has been “immaterial ….We’ll continue discussions and hope we can get to a sensible place.” The prices TWC still wants are “so far are beyond what a rational view of the market is.”

Related: LA Mayor Makes Plea For Resolution To Dodgers TV Dispute

White began the call declining to discuss the subject that most interests investors: stories in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere reporting that he’s been approached by AT&T about a possible deal valued at $40B. “These reports are not based on official sources of information,” he said — a comment that falls far short of an outright denial. Read More »

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Time Warner Cable Chief Says Subs Coming Over For Dodgers Channel

Rob Marcus pitched a what-me-worry response to an analyst who asked him this morning about Time Warner Cable‘s inability to persuade other pay TV providers (aside from close ally Bright House) to carry SportsNet LA —  which the Dodgers own and TWC distributes.Dodgers SportsNet “The good news is the product is great,” the CEO says. “We have a first place baseball team and the production quality is outstanding….There are a whole lot of customers at twclogoTime Warner Cable who are happy” while others are “moving to Time Warner Cable” to watch the Dodgers. TWC is said to want other distributors to pay $4 per month for each subscriber — including those who don’t watch sports.  That would make SportsNet LA one of the country’s most expensive regional sports channels. TWC needs the high price to help it cover its $8.35B, 25-year commitment for the distribution rights.

Related: Time Warner Cable Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates

Read More »

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Time Warner Cable, DirecTV In Stalemate Over Dodgers Channel

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 12:29pm PDT

SportsNet LA logoDirecTV subscribers apparently will not be watching any Dodgers games in the near future. Talks have broken down with the satellite TV provider and Time Warner Cable, which handles distribution of the MLB team’s new SportsNet LA channel, according to TWC.

Maureen Huff, Time Warner Cable vice president of public relations, told Deadline, “We can confirm that DirecTV has left the negotiating table. We were advised by their negotiating team that they would not counter our last proposal and that conversations were at an end. We are eager for all consumers in the Dodgers footprint to have access to SNLA and we hope that other providers will come on board quickly so that the frustrated DirecTV consumers have alternative options throughout the region.  We will continue to work tirelessly to make that happen. And, in the event that DirecTV would like to re-engage discussions, we stand at the ready to do so 24×7″. Read More »

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Time Warner Cable CEO Expects Last Minute Deals To Carry L.A. Dodgers

So far Time Warner Cable and closely allied Bright House Networks are the only pay TV distributors that have agreed to carry TWC’s new SportsNet LA which will feature the Dodgers. SportsNet LA logoBut TWC chief Rob Marcus says he isn’t worried: “Not surprisingly all of the action happens on the eve of opening day,” he told the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference this morning. “It’s the typical game that occurs.” He assured investors, though, that TWC won’t have to shell out big bucks if others play by different rules. “Our license fee to the Dodgers is not driven by subscriber volume,” he says. The deal that TWC signed last year requires it to pay $8.5B over a 25 year period to offer the channel and handle distribution.

As you might expect, most of the questions Marcus fielded dealt with Comcast’s $45.2B plan to buy his company. He disputed the claim that the combination of the two largest cable companies would give Comcast too much leverage in negotiations with programmers. “I find that whole line to be ironic given the experience we’ve had over the last dozen years or so” — including the black eye TWC ended up with last year when it tangled with CBS in a carriage contract dispute. Some small cable operators worry that programmers that have to cut prices for Comcast will make up for Read More »

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Larry King Set To Host Dodgers Talk Show On Time Warner Cable’s New SportsNet LA

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 10:18pm PST

LarryKing_Dodgers__111130235443The longtime TV host and unapologetic Dodgers fan will host an hourlong talker on the LA-centric sports channel that launched Tuesday. SportsNet LA said Larry King At Bat will bow March 18, featuring interviews with baseball greats and experts, celebrities and Dodger folk. Larry King‘s premiere guest will be Orel Hershiser, who pitched the Dodgers to their most recent World Series victory in 1988 and is the newest member of the team’s announcing crew. SportsNet LA, which was announced 13 months ago, was born of the 25-year multibillion-dollar deal Time Warner Cable inked with the Dodgers for broadcast rights.

Related: Will Consumer Anger Over Sports TV Costs Boil Over In 2014?

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