NAB, Hearst Slam TWC Over Retrans

Teh broadcaster and the trade association say the cable MSO is dragging its heels on retransmission consent negotiations on purpose, in hopes that Congress will get involved.

Hearst Television and NAB released statements today suggesting that Time Warner Cable is intentionally taking a hard line in retransmission consent negotiations and causing service disruptions in hopes that Congress will intercede and give cable and satellite operators more leverage in such negotiations.

“It’s no coincidence that Time Warner Cable, Dish and DirecTV are responsible for three out of every four retransmission consent disruptions in 2012,” said NAB EVP Dennis Wharton in a statement.

“Rather than negotiate in the free market for the most popular programming on TV, this cozy pay TV cabal is manufacturing a phony crisis in hopes that Congress will fix a ‘problem’ that these companies are creating.”

No crisis exists, NAB says. “[S]ince 2000, just 0.3% of pay TV companies have ever been involved in a program dispute resulting in a disruption of local television service.”

Hearst sounded the same theme is a statement attributed to CEO David Barrett.

“It has become clear that Time Warner, as the leader in the lobbying effort to roll back the 1992 Cable Act, which was designed to preserve the health of local television broadcasting and has worked as Congress intended, has decided to hold its subscribers hostage in the hope that it can pressure Congress to intervene.”

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Barrett’s statement also says that Hearst’s dispute, which lead to loss of Hearst signals in 13 markets, is “ripe for settlement,” noting that yesterday it made a proposal to TWC within 5% of its offer of July 9.

 “As of today, Time Warner Cable is attempting to portray a stalemate — when none exists,” Barrett adds.

Responding to the two letters, Matthew Polka, president-CEO of the American Cable Association, said: “ACA believes the only people who are manufacturing a retransmission consent crisis for consumers are TV station owners themselves.”

Polka added: “ACA strongly endorses lawmakers on Capitol Hill who agree that the time for change is now.”


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Joanne McDonald says:

July 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Here is my own opinions and my own theories to the cause of the dispute between Hearst and Time Warner Cable:

For the Hearst Time Warner Cable dispute:

Every Time Warner Cable customer should be ashamed of both David J. Barrett and Hearst for this blackout that result in the viewers from being able to watch their favorite shows with Time Warner Cable. I feel that David J. Barrett and Hearst are trying to be like the Neil Bogarts of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970’s disco era, the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s, the David Smith (one of the Smith brothers from Sinclair Broadcast Group), the Harry Pappas as part of the Pappas Telecasting Companies, the Bernard Madoff’s, the Enron’s, the Worldcom’s, the Adelphia’s, the Tyco’s, and the Martha Stewart’s, of the 2000’s by letting broadcast greed get out of control so all of the head employees and bosses at Hearst to be able to enjoy carefree lavishly spending to support carefree lavishly lifestyles with luxurious homes, luxurious jets, luxurious cars, join luxurious clubs, and have other luxurious items just to make them very happy then trying and willingness to improve the quality of all the stations they owned and control and making the viewers happy as well. I hope and I wish that David J. Barrett and Hearst get scolded by both by the ACA and the FCC for making the viewers being forced to deal with this blackout because they could not make a deal to get the stations back to it’s customers sooner and with a fair deal with Time Warner Cable. I hope and I wish that David J. Barrett and Hearst is barred from buying and owning anymore TV stations in the future after their final decision to remove the stations from Time Warner Cable. I feel that David J. Barrett and Hearst are trying to bribe like the General Tire/RKO General of the 1960’s and 1970’s by not being very honest of not only the viewers by making them miss the shows on Time Warner Cable and also on themselves. I hope and I wish that the FCC would force David J. Barrett and Hearst to allow Time Warner Cable to carry it’s stations without any interference before the olympics and football season starts, in the event David J. Barrett and Hearst fails to allow Time Warner Cable to carry it’s stations again, then the FCC would force David J. Barrett and Hearst to allow Time Warner Cable to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, in the event David J. Barrett and Hearst fails to allow Time Warner Cable to import out of market stations that are very real close to the station being blacked out being affiliated with the same network, then the FCC would allow Time Warner Cable to carry the out of market station with the same affiliation without any restrictions and also be allowed to continue to carry the out of market station that it’s digital television signal is reachable by a outdoor antenna including both it’s SD and HD feeds on the cable system even after the dispute is over without any interference for 12 whole years to meet FCC rules and regulators. I feel that both David J. Barrett and Hearst are way too busy being the Rebecca Black Friday, Double Take Hot Problems and Guns N Roses Axl Rose as well as trying be act like the Lyle and Erik Menendez’s as the greedy murderers, the Jeffrey Ireland’s and the Patrick Jones’s as the drunks, the Rodney Dangerfield’s, the John Belushi’s, and the Chris Farley’s as the comedians, the John Robert Ewing’s and the Cliff Barnes’s, the Charles Montgomery Burn’s, the Homer and Bart Simpson’s, the Peter Griffin’s, the Garfield cats, the Cookie Monster’s, the Miss Piggy’s, the Victor Newman’s of the broadcasting industry of not coming to reach a deal with Time Warner Cable to carry it’s stations to the viewers everyday. I feel that both David J. Barrett and Hearst are trying to turn into the 1919 Chicago White Sox’s baseball team and the Southern Methodist University football of the 1980’s to force Time Warner Cable to accept a take it or leave it deal to carry it’s stations. I urge all of the viewers with Time Warner Cable to boycott both David J. Barrett and Hearst right now for making the Time Warner Cable viewers suffer from being able to watch their favorite shows.

Thank you for my understanding to this matter.

    John Murray says:

    July 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    oh great… this guy again… lol…

Brian Bussey says:

July 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm

tell the cable companies to stop running 10 minute long commercial breaks after taking my 185 bucks month and I might see their point. until then, pay up and shut up. ad sales on cable is almost all profit because all the insertion infrastructure is paid for by the cable subscribers and least it was when I was selling it. i would also like to see all that paid programming back on cable and late nights where it belongs. The broadcaster are far from saints in this deal also. They whine about the cable companies who are also some of their largest advertisers. Talk about incestuous.

Manuel Morales says:

July 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Matt Polka- the biggest con man in the media industry. The man who loves to read his own quotes. Fooling ACA members is no way to make a living Matt. Destroying retrans will place a guarantee on the idea the networks float around about taking their best programming straight to cable. This will cost MVPDs much, much more. The disingenuous lobbying by the ACA is really troubling.

Teri Keene says:

July 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Oh yeah, relying on Congress… a group of bums who can’t even get their own house in order. Good luck with that., y’all.

Clayton Mowry says:

July 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Former AOL Timer Warner, now just Time Warner, spun the cable co. into a different and separate Company entity for a reason. They saw this day coming and are trying to hold back the tide instead of paying “fair” rates for the most viewed programming. The cross-ownership between the carriers and the content networks has been bordering on anti-trust for years, but falls just shy of that definition since they were forced to sell their little revenue engines key programming to satellite and now telco MVPD systems. They have been the “fox in the henhouse” for years and built a pretty sweet revenue stream by counting on no cash retrans from the most watched local affiliates. Cable guys, quit while you are ahead! Pay something that is fair and in line with the ratings for the stations that people watch the most. Digital antennas and online movies get more popular everyday.


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