Time Warner Cable Customers Face Blackouts in 14 Markets Over Retrans Dispute
Time Warner Cable has until May 31 to renegotiate a retransmission-consent deal, or LIN Television will pull its local broadcast stations in 14 markets. The current arrangement expires at 5 p.m. ET that day.
Time Warner Cable is reporting that LIN Television is seeking a 50 percent increase in fees. LIN -- which has been known to play hardball in these situations -- did not confirm those rates but said it is asking for a "fraction" of what the provider pays for many other cable networks such as AMC, Spike TV, CNBC, VH1, MTV, Animal Planet, E!, Syfy, C-SPAN, Country Music Television, Bravo and BET.
"We are working hard to reach a new agreement with Time Warner," LIN said in a statement. "However, we feel it is our duty to keep our viewers informed when a contract deadline approaches and a new agreement has not yet been reached. If we do not reach an agreement, by law, Time Warner cannot carry our signal on its cable systems."
If LIN's stations -- affiliated with Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, the CW and MyNetwork TV -- go dark on Time Warner Cable, viewers can continue to access local TV via antenna or by switching to an alternative pay-TV provider such as AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, DirecTV or Dish Network.
"Time Warner has yet to recognize the fair value of our programming," the media company said in a statement. "For many years, we have provided viewers with around-the-clock news, political coverage, traffic, weather, public service announcements, as well as popular local and national programming. It costs a substantial amount of money to produce local programming, bid for top-quality programming, invest in high-definition, and make other upgrades to equipment and technology so we can deliver a superior product. Our stations are important assets to the local community and we only want what is fair."