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News for broadcast and electronic media leaders | January 12, 2012

Spotlight on: Retransmission Agreements
The end of the calendar year typically brings with it a flurry of activity for broadcasters, as stations work to hammer out new retransmission agreements with pay-TV operators. This year, however one of the biggest disputes has been between two cable firms, as Time Warner Cable and Madison Square Garden, Inc., chaired by Cablevision President and CEO James Dolan, have yet to come to terms over carriage rates for two New York sports channels, MSG and MSG+. Most broadcasters, meanwhile, were able to swiftly reach new agreements.

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  Retrans Recap 
  • Broadcasters maintain service, after last-minute deals
    Station blackouts due to retransmission negotiation difficulties were almost unheard of this year, in spite of warnings to the contrary, as broadcasters reached retransmission deals with pay-TV providers. Instead, one of the year's biggest programming blackouts stems from a dispute between two cable firms. "These agreements invariably get done because there's enormous incentive for both sides to do a deal. ... Yes, there are often threats and overheated rhetoric, but you'll find that almost every retransmission consent deal gets successfully concluded. Think of these as marriages and carriages of convenience," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Retrans season passes uneventfully
    While there were a few flare-ups and service disruptions in some parts of the country, most broadcasters were able to strike deals with no interruption of service. Some analysts believed talks could get heated, but the lack of negotiating fire could have been the result of several factors, including the possibility of attention from regulators and the stations deciding not press for additional retrans revenue, according to Miller Tabak media analyst David Joyce. Multichannel News (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Deal Roundup 
  • Many broadcasters sign retrans pacts without blackouts
    Young Broadcasting, Citadel, News Press-Gazette and Allbritton are among the broadcast station groups to reach retransmission consent agreements with pay-TV operators with no service disruptions. The deals show that "if 2011 is any indication, both sides seem to have accepted retransmission as part of the business," according to Radio Business Report. Radio Business Report (1/4), Broadcasting & Cable (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Indianapolis' WTHR, Bright House reach last-minute accord
    Bright House cable customers in Indiana are enjoying uninterrupted access to Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR after a last-minute accord on retransmission was hammered out. "We reached a fair, long-term agreement. We are very pleased and happy that our viewers will continue to receive the local programming and the news, weather and entertainment that they have come to expect from us without disruption," station President John Cardenas said, without disclosing details. Bright House accounts for about 100,000 of the 800,000 WTHR viewers in Indiana. The Indianapolis Star (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hearst, Mediacom agree on retrans in 9 markets
    Ten Hearst stations in nine markets remain on the screens of Mediacom Communications subscribers after an agreement was reached between the two companies. The affected markets are Baltimore; Des Moines-Ames, Iowa; New Orleans; Jackson, Miss.; Louisville; Kansas City, Mo.; Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.; Milwaukee; and Omaha, Neb. Broadcasting & Cable (12/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Allbritton asks the FCC to order Shentel to restore WJLA service
    Allbritton Communications argues that Shentel Telecommunications did not bargain in good faith over a retransmission agreement and asks the FCC in a letter to order Shentel to restore its WJLA ABC affiliate to 8,200 Virginia customers. Allbritton says it accepted Shentel's deal, only to have Shentel rescind it. "We were able to reach retransmission agreements with every other distributor across our seven markets," said Allbritton Senior Vice President Jerald Fritz, adding that there was no loss of signals anywhere else. Broadcasting & Cable (1/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Eye on Cable Disputes 
  • NYC official wants Time Warner Cable to issue refunds for games
    The New York City comptroller has called on Time Warner Cable to refund subscribers for the New York Knicks and Rangers games they're not seeing because of the provider's standoff with Madison Square Garden Co. However, the comptroller didn't offer a method of reimbursement for subscribers who received MSG and MSG Plus at no special cost as part of Time Warner Cable's expanded basic offering. Time Warner Cable is providing NBA TV and NHL Network free during the dispute -- channels that normally cost $5.95 a month. Bloomberg (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

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