FiOS steps in as Time Warner Cable, CBS feud

Rather than cutting the cord, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) customers are apparently running to another wireline provider--Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS--to get their TV fix as their service provider and CBS (NYSE: CBS) thrash out a nasty retransmission dispute.

The New York Daily News reported that FiOS subscriptions could be up as much as 16 percent (or as little as 5 percent) with many of those additions coming from Time Warner Cable's 3.2 million customers.

"Since Time Warner cut the cord on CBS (on Aug. 2), it's been a boom town time for (FiOS)," a cable executive reportedly told the Daily News.

Of course the biggest factor in changing providers--aside from getting the cable operator to let go--is finding a place where FiOS is available. While Verizon in its most recent earnings announcement said FiOS had topped the 5 million subscriber mark and was growing, it also said there were no plans to move the service outside the areas where it's already offered.

For TWC, the subscriber drain is probably alarming, but could be worse. Summer is typically a doldrums period for broadcast television as the season revs up in September and October--and, especially for CBS, as football season rolls around.

"D-Day is (NFL season opening day) Sept. 8. Nothing gets people motivated like missing out on major sporting events," the source told the Daily News.

Not all subscribers are waiting that long to drop the bomb on the cable provider, ABC News reported. Three plaintiffs reported filed a lawsuit against Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles County Superior Court, complaining that Time Warner Cable isn't providing channels from CBS, including pay channels Showtime and The Movie Channel, but it's still collecting the same amount of monthly subscription fees.

The lead plaintiff, James Armstrong, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., and his attorney Elaine Nguyen declined to comment on the court case for the ABC News story.

For more:
- the New York Daily News ran this story
- and ABC News had this story

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