By Steve Donohue, FierceCable, August 7, 2013
| Charter CEO Tom Rutledge offered a subtle hint Tuesday about | how Liberty Media chairman John Malone may be able to help him | hammer major programmers like CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co. if | he succeeds in turning Charter into a bigger MSO than Comcast. | | Like all cable operators, Charter has seen its programming costs | skyrocket in the last decade. And even if operators refuse a | rate increase, as Time Warner Cable has in its battle with CBS, | there's little an operator can do unless Comcast takes the lead | and tells programmers that enough is enough. That's because | Comcast, whose 21.8 million subscribers make it the largest U.S. | pay TV provider, has a most-favored-nation clause in its | programming contracts which guarantees that it will get the | lowest license fee. So no matter how long TWC blacks out CBS and | Showtime, it'll be impossible for the MSO to negotiate a better | deal than Comcast's.