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Time Warner losing some subscribers in Santa Clarita Valley

Blackout of CBS and other stations enters fifth day Tuesday

Posted: August 5, 2013 7:00 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Lee Ochoa of Canyon Country carries a cable box to his car after upgrading his service with Time Warner on Monday. Signal photo by Jonathan Pobre

Santa Clarita Valley Time-Warner subscribers enter their fifth day Tuesday without KCBS and KCAL channels 2 and 9, as well as Showtime, TMC, FLIX and Smithsonian as a dispute between the cable company and CBS continues.

They’re missing the Dodgers on their hottest road game streak in 90 years, and they missed Tiger Woods winning the World Golf Campionships-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

None of that mattered much to Lee Ochoa, a Canyon Country resident and new Time Warner customer who stopped by the Centre Pointe Time Warner office Monday to add some new services. But mess with football and that’s another thing.

“We were just flipping through the channels when we saw the commercial,” Ochoa said of Time Warner’s TV notification about the blackout. “We just started using them.”

Ochoa doesn’t see any reason to switch providers during the dispute — he believes it will be over in a few days. But if it begins to interfere with football broadcasts he’ll reconsider, he said.

The regular NFL season begins Sept. 5, but CBS is scheduled to broadcast several games on Sunday, Sept. 8.

The CEO of Time Warner Cable Inc., Glenn Britt, suggested Monday that customers might want to pay extra for CBS on an a-la-carte basis.

CBS Corp. called the proposal a “sham.”

“Anyone familiar with the entertainment business knows that the economics and structure of the cable industry doesn’t work that way and isn’t likely to for quite some time,” it said.

CBS signals have been blacked out to some 3 million Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas since Friday in a dispute over how much the cable operator has to pay for CBS programming. Britt’s proposal is a radical departure from how TV is sold today — in packages that can contain a hundred or more channels, many of which consumers don’t watch.

The blackout is costing Time Warner some customers, at least in the Santa Clarita Valley, said one retention specialist for the cable firm.

“I helped a man today who canceled because of the dispute,” the specialist said Monday. “We try to educate them and tell them that they can watch everything online, but I think we’re going to see more customers leaving.”

The company has been offering pro-rated rebates to Time Warner Cable subscribers who pay extra for CBS-owned Showtime, which is among the stations blacked out.

For the time being, the cable operator has replaced CBS with programming from Starz Kids and Family.

Ochoa said he wouldn’t be interested in paying extra for CBS.

“We’re already paying enough as it is,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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