The Great CBS Blackout of 2013 was a disaster for Time Warner Cable. While the cable company and CBS squabbled over how much TWC should pay the broadcaster for its programming, CBS shows were off the air for a month — and TWC lost more than 300,000 subscribers.

But as disruptive as that incident was, it'll pale in comparison to the kind of blackouts we could see in the future. As networks like CBS move their content online, what will happen if CBS and TWC (or another cable company) disagree over content payments again?

At least one cable industry official, Ross Lieberman, believes that All Access, as CBS's streaming service is called, may become another potential weapon in the network's arsenal if it doesn't get its way on programming fees. Here's the basic idea: If a company like Time Warner Cable refuses to meet CBS's price, CBS could not only decide to pull its content from TWC's cable TV customers, but also from TWC's cable Internet customers, as well (two groups that surely overlap, but are just as surely not identical, as the growing data on cord-cutting show).

The decision to blackout cable TV and cable Internet would mean outages of unprecedented scale. And CBS has every incentive to press as hard as it can; it's told investors it wants to quadruple the amount of money it extracts from pay-TV distributors by 2020. By then, it expects to make $2 billion a year from content fee receipts.

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