Finally! The FCC Is Stepping Into the Time Warner-CBS Battle
The Federal Communications Commission has finally stepped in to mediate the dispute between Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS) that has left 3 million Time Warner customers without access to CBS programming since August 2.
In an emailed statement seen by Bloomberg, an FCC spokesman said: “The commission is engaged at the highest levels with the respective parties and working to bring the impasse to an end. We urge all parties to resolve this matter as quickly as possible so consumers can access the programming they rely on and are paying for.”
FCC head Mignon Clyburn previously said the organization doesn’t have the power to intervene in the talks, though at a news conference on August 9 she said she was “really distressed” at how the negotiations had deteriorated and was “ready to consider appropriate action.”
The FCC has been reluctant to step into the increasingly hostile negotiations between the two companies — television networks and broadcasters are both powerful forces around election time, leaving lawmakers hesitant to anger either company. Frustrated Time Warner customers have been asking the FCC to step in since the blackouts started at the the beginning of the month, but the government organization is only now relenting to that pressure.