Outside of the New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas television markets, the biggest losers are the Showtime subscribers. Time Warner Cable has given subscribers credits for not having access to Showtime since August 2, 2013, when the channels went dark at 5 PM. In the meanwhile, they are providing Starz and/or Encore at no extra cost.
Providing Starz and Encore is not enough. The only solution is to get back to the table and start talking once more. Why would a Showtime subscriber turn to Starz or Encore to watch the final season of Dexter or the premiere season of Ray Donovan.
The NFL season kicks off just after Labor Day. If CBS and Time Warner don’t settle by that point, viewers will ditch the cable provider in large numbers. I’ve already heard from subscribers in Kentucky–the ones that previously had Insight–that they are not happy. All they want is Showtime. It’s either switch to the Dish or DirecTV because Time Warner holds such a large monopoly in some portions of the country that it just is not fair to the consumers.
The Hollywood Reporter offers some analysis on what this dispute means in the longterm. Next month, ABC/Disney contract with the Dish expires in the third week.