Cable company addresses carriage dispute with CBS
Though he never mentioned the company by name, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt told analysts during an earnings call on Thursday that a reported bid by Charter Communications to buy the cable operator is a validation of the strategy the company has pursued.
“The fact that [Time Warner Cable] has been at the center of that speculation is really an endorsement of our assets," he said.
Britt pictured left.
Charter and its billionaire backer John Malone were rebuffed earlier this year in their courtship of the country's second largest cable operator, but are reportedly working with Goldman Sachs on another bid for the company.
Time Warner's leadership also addressed its ongoing fight with CBS Corp. over carriage fees. Roughly 3 million Time Warner Cable subscribers in cities like New York and Los Angeles could lose access to CBS channels like Showtime unless an agreement on retransmission costs is reached by Friday afternoon.
Time Warner Cable COO Rob Marcus, who will replace Britt as CEO later this year, said that there may be benefits to breaking up bundling. As it stands, content providers like CBS and the Walt Disney Co. ask cable operators to pay for a package of channels, which allows them to link their more popular assets like Showtime and ESPN with less widely watched properties.
"We're always big fans of providing customers with more choices," Marcus said.
Britt, who was battling a cold that caused his voice to rasp, was the object of some levity during the call. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co analyst Craig Moffett asked him if he had grown hoarse yelling at CBS Corp. chief Les Moonves during their latest carriage clash.
"I knew someone was going to ask that," Britt said.