About 16 Tegna stations in 11 states went dark to Mediacom Communications customers Dec. 31, after the parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement. Mediacom said its contract for the stations expired at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, at which time it was forced to stop carrying the stations, even though it had offered to pay what the cable company called a “significant” increase over its previous agreement. The stations are ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CW affiliates located in about a dozen states, including Mediacom’s biggest markets in Iowa (Des Moines, Davenport and Ames).
Mediacom Communications dodged a big retrans bullet on Monday, reaching a carriage agreement with Gray Television that involved stations in more than 35 markets across the country. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
GroupM’s MediaCom unit has named Nadine Thomson its first global chief technology officer. Thomson, who reports to MediaCom Global Chief Digital Officer Deirdre McGlashan, will be based in London.
The European telecom giant may think about acquiring smaller operators like Cable One or Mediacom.
Media General ended its retransmission consent standoff with Mediacom late yesterday with an agreement that returned Media General stations to Mediacom systems in 14 markets. “We are pleased that Mediacom recognized the essential value of our top-rated programming, including local news, weather, sports, entertainment and other unique content, ” Media General said in a statement. “We regret the temporary disruption in service.”
Mediacom Communications announced this morning that it has struck a new retransmission consent deal with LIN Media. No terms were disclosed. A 2011 standoff in retrans negotiations between the companies resulted in a six-week blackout. So far this year, Mediacomm has also renewed retrans agreements with ABC and Fox.
The new multi-year agreement covers retransmission consent for NBC- and Telemundo-owned stations and provides sports, news and entertainment channels to Mediacom customers across multiple platforms in and out of home.
Mediacom CEO Rocco Commisso wants Republicans and Democrats, who can’t agree on whether the grass is green, to take the lead in forging an extraordinary compromise in the TV industry. Commisso promised that Mediacom would freeze prices for two years if content providers keep their carriage fees flat over the same period.
In comments to the FCC, a coalition of advocacy groups long opposed to media consolidation and cable operators say shared services agreements and other contractual deals that stop short of ownership, but let broadcasters operate two or even three stations in a market, need to be eliminated. These virtual duopolies, they say, reduce competition and news coverage while giving stations an unfair advantage in retrans negotiations with cable operators.
Fox has added two new operators to its effort placing a soft paywall around online streaming of shows, such as Glee and The Simpsons. Mediacom and Verizon FiOS customers can view episodes the day after air, so long as they log in and prove they are paying subscribers.
Mediacom Communications announced late Friday that it had reached a retransmission consent agreement with LIN Media, resulting in the immediate restoration of nine LIN stations to Mediacom’s cable systems in six markets.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Rocco Commisso, the chairman-CEO of cable operator Mediacom, criticized the regulatory agency for not being aggressive in trying to keep programming costs down. Much of Commisso’s beef is about having to pay broadcasters more in retransmission consent fees to retransmit their TV stations.
Warner Bros. is moving its media planning and buying assignment — valued at $800 million, per Kantar Media — to the Omnicom Media Group from MediaCom, a unit of WPP’s GroupM, without a formal review.