On Friday afternoon, CBS went dark for 2.9 million Time Warner Cable subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. This came after the network and cable provider were unable to agree on retransmission fee terms.
While this appears to be a lose-lose in the near-term, UBS analyst John Janedis thinks it’s worse for Time Warner than it is for CBS.
“Our view continues to be that consumers have more loyalty to the content rather than the company which is responsible for distribution and with contracts often running 5+ years, CBS can’t afford to take below market value given the inability to renegotiate terms,” said Janedis in a research note today.
Indeed, cable subscribers pay Time Warner, not CBS, for the content. So, it’s understandable why consumers would direct their frustrations to the cable provider.
“Based on our estimates, we think the CBS Network going dark could cost CBS about $400K/day, including lost retrans revenue and a loss of adv dollars at both the network and the stations,” said Janedis who reiterates his Buy-rating on the stock. “Bottom line: Every two weeks of being dark equals ~$0.01/share.”
Janedis doesn’t offer an estimate for the cost to Time Warner Cable.
But the bottome line is that CBS shareholders may be able to wait this thing out.
What about CBS fans?
“If history is a guide, this should be resolved in less than two weeks,” said Janedis.