Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) will cancel some non-game programming an lay off 30 employees at its Southern California regional sports networks, including carriage-starved TWC SportsNet LA.
Cancelled programming includes Dodgers Clubhouse, which ran on SportsNet LA, a Dodgers-focused channel TWC has not been able to gain coverage for on DirecTV and other pay-TV operators. However, shows like Lakers Girls on the thoroughly carried Lakers-themed channel SportsNet have been cancelled, too.
TWC revealed earlier this year that its inability to secure carriage for SportsNet LA on DirecTV -- which controls about 1.2 million subscribers in the Los Angeles region -- is costing the operator around $100 million a year.
TWC rep Maureen Huff insists the decision was about audience ratings, not about missing revenue.
"It's a reaction based on lack of viewers for this programming," she said to the Los Angeles Times.
TWC, which programs and operates TWC SportsNet LA for the Dodgers, is about to finish its second full baseball season without a DirecTV (NYSE: T) deal in place.
In June, shortly after announcing a deal to acquire TWC, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) agreed to carry the regional sports network. That added around 300,000 homes to the channel's base. The channel is still only in roughly half of Los Angeles area pay-TV homes.
In January 2013, TWC paid the Dodgers $8.35 billion over 25 years for their exclusive local TV rights.
- read this Los Angeles Times story
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