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 NEW YORK, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- CBS Inc. Chairman, President And Chief Executive Officer Laurence A. Tisch today released the following statement:
 "Following negotiations lasting nearly a year, we have concluded that it is not possible to reach any meaningful retransmission consent agreement with the major cable operators at this time. However, we do not believe it is fair to punish viewers in the markets in which we own television stations for the intransigence of the cable operators in the communities. While those operators would suffer if we withheld our signal, the viewers, who would not have difficulty watching `World Series,' `60 Minutes,' `Murphy Brown,' `Northern Exposure,' and `1994 Olympic Winter Games,' should not be caught in the middle of this dispute, particularly when many of them have yet to see the a rate reductions the 1992 Cable Act contemplated.
 Therefore, the CBS owned television stations will grant all relevant cable systems retransmission consent rights for one year.
 Within days of the passage of the 1992 Cable Act, I directed CBS's senior management to begin the process of talking to cable operators, hoping to pave the was for retransmission consent agreement that would be reasonable, mutually beneficial and consistent with the letter and the spirit of the act.
 It is no secret that we sought cash compensation for our signals. When virtually all of the major cable operators declared that they would under no circumstances pay cash, we acceded to their demands that the currency of retransmission consent would be paid through new cable channels. For several months, we have exhaustively pursued a number of channel options including, but not limited to, a pioneering news channel that would have combined the national and local newsgathering prowess of CBS ad its affiliates; an entertainment channel featuring some of the vintage comedies and dramas made famous on the CBS Television Network, and an innovative sports/news channel. It was of great importance to us that each of our channel proposals provided both programming opportunities and ongoing cash payments for those of our affiliates who chose to participate. For a variety of reasons, various segments of the cable industry took turns killing off each of those channel proposals.
 Having rejected cash, and now a CBS cable channel, we are at a loss as to what the cable industry does want short of our abject surrender.
 I deeply regret that this important piece of legislation, which held so much promise for the future of free broadcasting, has not yet worked as intended. The clear intent of the Congress on retransmission consent was to strengthen and preserve free, universal, over-the-air television by repealing the subsidy broadcasters were being forced to provide to cable. A plethora of new cable channels does not seem to us to be consistent with that goal, but we undertook to make such a deal in an effort to negotiate in good faith, more than one can say for cable's reaction to our cash proposal.
 For the record, CBS's cash retransmission consent offer to cable operators was 10 cents per subscriber per month the first year, 20 cents the second year and 30 cents in the third year, not even one percent of the average monthly cable bill. For the audience we deliver to cable, we believed that to be an extraordinarily reasonable offer. It was far less than the cable industry had claimed retransmission would cost and it obviously could be easily handled by that $20 billion industry.
 We will now go forward with our basic business, programming America's most watched broadcast network. We will continue to seek fair value for our signal, working with our affiliates as we have for a number of years. At the same time, we will explore the possibilities offered by the emergence of the regional telephone companies and other competitors to cable. We will report to relevant members of Congress, the administration, and the FCC on our experiences as they continue to try to fashion sensible national communications policies. We will do so out of our profound commitment to our viewers to secure the future of free, universal, over-the-air, network television."
 -0- 9/27/93
 /CONTACT: Ann Morfogen of CBS, 212-975-8088/

CO: CBS Inc. ST: New York IN: SU:

SH-SM -- NY072 -- 6007 09/27/93 14:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 27, 1993

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