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Time Warner : DIRECTV has Left the Negotiating Table

Time Warner : DIRECTV has Left the Negotiating Table

Time Warner Cable has announced that DIRECTV has left the negotiations table concerning the SAT provider carying the Los Angles Dodgers Channel , SportsNet LA, for the 2014 baseball season.

“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,” Time Warner Cable, which is managing the channel, told Variety magazine.
DIRECTV though claims these statements are false, claiming “nothing could be further from the truth.”DIRECTV went on to state that “We just didn’t agree to accept their latest outrageous proposal,” adding that Time Warner Cable was in the process of trying to “manipulate all TV customers throughout the region.” What exactly DIRECTV means by this last statement is somewhat unclear, but it is only the newest volley in a very nasty, very public PR war these two have been waging with each other. Both sides are arguing over what is fair compensation to carry the Dodger’s network, SportNet LA.

Time Warner Cable is aggressively pushing to get DIRECTV to carry the SportNet LA channel, in part to increase availability to customers since TWC currently is the only provider currently carrying it on their menu. TWC’s tactics include a manufactured grass roots effort to apply consumer pressure on DIRECTV to begin providing the channel to their customers.

Time Warner hopes if they can force DIRECTV to carry the channel, other providers might be forced to fall into line as well. Dish, Verizon, AT&T, Charter and Cox have all declined to currently carry the Dodgers channel in the LA marketplace, claiming that Time Warner Cable is asking for too much money to do so.

One reason for the higher than fair price could have to do with the fact that TWC agreed to pay for LA Dodgers 8.35 billion dollars over a 25 year time period for the rights to air the teams games. This agreement states that Time Warner Cable has to make these payments to the Dodgers whether TV providers pays it carriage fees or not. This leave TWC in a bad spot financially for this deal, and means they have to attempt to charge fees that are considered too steep to be worth it.

Time Warner Cable claims the issue with DIRECTV is that they want to sign a carriage deal that would allow them to drop the channel and therefore stop paying carriage fees during the term of the contract if the LA Dodgers perform poorly. Less viewers tune in to watch a team that is not having a winning season, and DIRECTV is attempting to capitalize on this possibility to allow them to cut their losses if need be. Should this part of the agreement be accepted it would be a first in the history of TV programming contracts, and could therefore set a very nasty and frightening future precendent.

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