ACA's Lieberman ponders new kind of blackout: Will CBS block operators' broadband access?

CBS Corp. chief executive Les Moonves hadn't even finished first-day press duties for his company's big OTT announcement, when cable industry pundits began speculating on what might occur during the next big retrans impasse between the programmer and a major MSO.

Twitter ACA Lieberman retrans

Lieberman expressed his concerns about OTT blackouts Thursday. (Source: Twitter)

"If CBS and a cable op can't agree on an O&O retrans deal, will CBS block that op's broadband subs from accessing its new streaming service?" tweeted Ross Lieberman, senior VP of government affairs for the American Cable Association, on Thursday.

CBS just announced a new a la carte streaming product that will allow subscribers online access to all current CBS shows, as well as many popular archival series, for $5.99 per month. (Notable: no NFL football is included.)

And CBS has already proven valuable in the pay-TV marketplace. As the Washington Post noted, Time Warner Cable's (NYSE: TWC) retrans impasse with CBS in 2013 and the related one-month blackout resulted, at least in large part, to the loss of 300,000 video service subscribers.

"But as disruptive as that incident was, it'll pale in comparison to the kind of blackouts we could see in the future," writes the Post's Brian Fung. "As networks like CBS move their content online, what will happen if CBS and TWC (or another cable company) disagree over content payments again?"

For more:
- read this Washington Post story

Related links:
Aereo crusher CBS launches $5.99-a-month online service
It's really happening: HBO sets a la carte streaming plans for 2015
Report: Time Warner looking to deploy HBO in more Internet-only packages
HBO ahead on profits for now, but Netflix is better positioned, analyst says
Aereo set to appear back in court as report surfaces that investors aren't done

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