AT&T and Northwest Broadcasting say they’ve ended their nearly eight-month old carriage fight, which means 20 Northwest-owned stations in 10 markets can now return to the AT&T-owned DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now.
The group says the proposed station buys by Terrier Media, controlled by Apollo Global Management, of properties of Northwest Broadcasting and Cox Broadcasting will “impede competition and diversity and raise prices for consumers.” It urges the FCC to study what it calls “public interest harms” if the deals are approved.
According to FCC filings, Terrier Media, a new company created by an Apollo private equity fund, will pay $3.1 billion for the Cox broadcast stations, but that number will be reduced by the value of the still unspecified amount of equity that Cox will retain in the stations. In the end, the Apollo fund will hold 77% of the Terrier equity, while Cox and Northwest Broadcasting, another station group Terrier is rolling up, will split the other 23%. Terrier will keep current Cox managment and be based in Atlanta.
Apollo Global is cobbling together a major new station group by melding Cox, Northwest and spinoffs from the Nexstar-Tribune merger. Not much is known about the four-sided deal at this point, but it’s got everybody talking. Most surprising to me: Northwest and its retrans contracts may be the key to the whole thing.
The city of Yuma, Ariz., has sent a letter to Charter demanding the cable operator provide a credit to subscribers who have been without two Yuma-based stations since Feb. 1 due to a fee fight with their owner, Northwest Broadcasting. The stations affected are: CBS affioiate KSWT and NBC affil KYMA. The stations are two of 11 Northwest-owned network affiliates that have been blacked out in the dispute.
The head of the station group takes to his stations’ websites to offer his take on the blackouts and retransmission consent negotiations with the cable carrier (locally Charter) that broke down over the weekend and caused blackouts of 11 Northwest stations in nine markets. He points the finger directly at Spectrum CEO Tom Rutledge.
Charter has lost 11 local network affiliates in six states on Friday night due to a fee fight with their owner, Northwest Broadcasting. The two sides disagree on who pulled the signals on the stations in California, Arizona, Washington, New York, Oregon and Idaho.
The fledgling consortium started by Nexstar, Sinclair and Univision, now covers about 90% of the U.S. It plans to work to promote ATSC 3.0 innovation and develop products and services that can drive spectrum utilization, virtual MVPD platforms, multicast channels, automotive applications, single frequency networks and wireless data applications.
A month-long blackout of Northwest Broadcasting-owned affiliates on Cable One has ended, with the two sides agreeing on a new retrans deal. The agreement will restore affiliates in Idaho, Mississippi and Cleveland on the MSO. Terms of the deal were not announced.
He takes over leadership of the Northwest Broadcasting’s Fox affiliates in Spokane and Yakima, Wash., joing from Sainte Partners in Modesto, Calif.
CEO Jack Perry says in addition to developing the platform that stations will be able to use to deliver their programming via broadband to interconnected TV sets, tablets and smart phones in their markets, his company is also lining up national programming to supplement whatever programming the participating stations choose to put on the platform. Preliminary testing on stations is slotted for next month, with the goal of a commercial rollout by January’s CES.
Following a breakdown in retrans renewal negotiations with Northwest Broadcasting, DirecTV will be dropping at midnight the Northwest Fox affiliates in Yakima and Spokane, both Washington; KMVU Medford, Ore.; and Binghamton, N.Y. DirecTV CEO Mike White claims Northwest is asking for a 600% increase in fees.