Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is enlisting CBS (NYSE: CBS) employees in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles to join the ranks of its FiOS service with "exclusive discounts and special promotions."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the telco sent a memo to CBS staffers with the offer and plans to follow up with sales staff visits to CBS offices as part of a move to poach Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) customers caught in the middle of a three-week-long programming blackout as the cable operator and broadcaster/content provider battle over a myriad of new-age carriage issues.
While previous blackouts came about mostly when content providers and service providers couldn't agree on the cost for programming, this particularly nasty spat goes beyond that, to how and where the CBS-branded content is distributed beyond Time Warner Cable. CBS wants to make its programming--which also includes the Showtime pay TV network as well as CBS broadcast channels--available to over-the-top purveyors like Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX). TWC, of course, doesn't like the added competition.
While Verizon has taken several steps to try to recruit Time Warner Cable subs for FiOS, at least one other service provider, DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), has pledged solidarity with the cable operator in its battle with the content owner, noting, "We applaud Time Warner Cable for fighting back against exorbitant programming cost increases. We are also appalled to learn that CBS is now punishing DirecTV customers, who may happen to have Time Warner as their Internet provider, by denying them access to CBS content online. The conduct of content companies in their efforts to extract outrageous fees from distributors and consumers may have reached a new low."
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