ViacomCBS and Charter said they have a new multi-year distribution agreement that includes carriage of ViacomCBS’s broadcast stations and cable networks, as well as a license to sell the ViacomCBS streaming services to Charter’s Spectrum customers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. One of the reasons for merging Viacom with CBS was to give the company greater clout with distributor like Charter.
Gray Television is pushing the FCC to classify over-the-top video providers as MVPDs so they will have to negotiate carriage with stations. That is according to a presentation to FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington and his media adviser, Adam Cassady, by Gray counsel and former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell.
Mike Meara, president of News Press & Gazette Broadcasting, says the family-owned company has no plans to get swallowed up in the industry’s consolidation trend and is very interested in picking up more stations itself. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
“Our vendors are competing with us in linear TV, so that’s an unhealthy place.” That’s the assessment of Dish founder Charlie Ergen. In Thursday’s earnings call, Ergen played prophet and skeptic as he laid out the competitive landscape. The company’s Dish TV and Sling TV units rely almost exclusively on the appetite for live streaming. But as nearly every media company launches its own services, these MVPDs are facing increasing competition for limited streaming dollars.
The FCC has denied Gray Television’s retransmission consent complaint against Frontier Communications, saying Frontier did not violate the agency’s good-faith standards, its totality of circumstances test or its notice requirements.
It may be a new, Democratic-led FCC, but broadcasters and cable operators are fighting the same retrans and media ownership battles. On March 16, representatives of the American Television Alliance met with a top FCC staffer to argue that the current media ownership rules allow broadcasters to skirt limits and create triopolies and even quadropolies, loopholes they argued should be eliminated. Only a few days later, representatives of the NAB met with a different FCC staffer to talk about the same issues, but from quite a different perspective.
The new rights deal that include streaming rights “ends the retrans gravy train,” says analyst Rich Greenfield, while Moffett Nathanson says the biggest losers “will be the non-O&O affiliates of NBC and CBS.”
A bipartisan pair of legislators has introduced the Modern Television Act of 2021 that would eliminate some “outdated” regulations including the must carry-retransmission consent regime that broadcasters use to secure payments from MVPDs for their local programming/signals and the compulsory copyright license. Broadcasters were not happy, while MVPDs were pleased with the prospect of must-carry going away, which they have long argued was a thumb on the scale for broadcasters, who can demand carriage, though it means they can’t negotiate payment.
According to Kagan, about 22 retrans deals are expected to come up for renewal in 2021, affecting about 30.2 million subscribers. All together, Kagan estimates that about 334 stations in 244 markets will come up for renewal this year. While comparisons are tough, Kagan says that is lower than 2020, when they estimate retrans deals affected about 56 million subscribers.
Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley tlks about some of the industry’s big-picture issues, including retransmission consent, consolidation, regional sports networks, NextGen TV technology and stations getting into the national news business.
The multiyear deal covers 26 Cox Media Group-owned stations in 20 markets across DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse video services.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) has written to Cox Media Group saying it should restore its stations to DirecTV ASAP and suggesting the broadcaster is not negotiating in good faith as the FCC requires.
The organization cites five times that Cox Media has pulled stations just ahead of the big game.
AT&T’s TV services, including DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV, this morning lost roughly 25 stations in 20 markets due to a fee fight with Cox Media Group, and its owner, Apollo Global Management.
DirecTV and AT&T TV could lose 14 stations next Tuesday due to a carriage dispute with Cox Media Group which manages the stations. (The fee fight also affects U-verse in the markets it serves.)
Cox Media Group and Altice USA/Suddenlink announced that they have reached a new multi-year retransmission consent deal for the ongoing carriage of CMG stations on Suddenlink lineups in Tulsa, Okla.; Memphis; Spokane, Wash.; Eureka, Calif.; Greenville-Greenwood, Miss.; and Alexandria, La. The agreement means that Suddenlink customers will have access to CMG’s station content, including local news, weather, sports, traffic and entertainment. The parties thanked consumers “for their patience during this negotiation.”
Nexstar Media Group, Inc. and Antietam Broadband announced Tuesday that they reached a multi-year agreement to return independent WDVM Hagerstown , Md. (Washington DMA) to the broadband system in Hagerstown and Washington County, Md. The station has been absent from the cable service’s channel lineup since the end of 2018.
Nexstar Media Group’s cable network WGN America has reached a multi-year comprehensive agreement with Vidgo, and will be carried by the live TV streaming platform beginning on Jan. 15. In the last two months, Nexstar has reached five agreements with subscription-based streaming services for the distribution of WGN America, expanding the network’s reach by 8.5 […]
While the end of the year appeared to be pretty quiet on the retransmission consent front with only a few disputes ongoing in 2021’s first week, 2020 was another record year for blackouts, as 336 TV stations went dark to pay TV customers vs. 278 in the prior year, according to cable industry group the American Television Alliance.
Frontier has told the FCC that its beef with Gray Television is over the value of the TV signal and that Gray’s retransmission consent complaint against Frontier “lacks any basis in fact or law.” Gray formally complained to the FCC that Frontier was not negotiating in good faith and did not give is customers “as soon as possible” notice of a potential blackout, both of which are required under FCC rules.
Cox Media Group TV stations in six markets have gone dark to Suddenlink subscribers in a dispute over retransmission consent fees. The blackout affects viewers in Tulsa, Okla.; Memphis; Spokane, Wash.; Eureka, Calif.; Greenville-Greenwood, Miss.; and Alexandria, La.
There are no winners on the local front when it comes to station blackouts, but stations can maintain goodwill by answering irate viewers’ calls, keeping clients informed and calling viewers when carriage is restored.
Cable One/Sparklight said its customers in the Springfield-Urbana, Ill., area lost access to three GoCom Media stations on Dec. 31 after retransmission consent talks broke down, adding that it is still in talks regarding two other nearby stations owned by Block Communications and Sinclair Broadcast Group. GoCom owns Fox affiliate WSRP-WCCU in Springfield, as well as WBUI (CW) in the same area. The stations are managed by Sinclair through a joint services/shared services agreement.
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).
Verizon and Hearst Television reached a distribution agreement to stave off a New Year’s Day blackout of the broadcasting group’s nine channels on Fios TV in five markets. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The telco had alleged Hearst TV was demanding price hikes of more than 45% to carry the local channels. The companies’ previous carriage pact expired Dec. 31.
Per FCC rules, Verizon has started warning Fios customers they may lose access to Hearst Television stations at month’s end. Verizon said Hearst is demanding “unreasonably large” increases in retransmission consent fees that may force Verizon to raise rates for its customers.
The Capitol Broadcasting duopoly has been pulled from the satellite service after a carriage extension expired with no new deal in place.
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.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) has written FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to stick up for Gray Television’s WWSB Sarasota, Fla., in a retrans fight with Frontier Cable. Citing a failure to reach a retrans agreement with Frontier, WWSB used some in-house news reporting last week to relay that it had been pulled from the cable system Friday (Dec. 18) after WWSB offered to keep the signal on at current terms while they continued to negotiate.
Fox and Sinclair Broadcast Group said they reached an agreement renewing the Fox Broadcasting affiliation for stations in 25 markets. The Sinclair Fox affiliates affected by the deal cover about 11% of U.S. households.
The multi-year deal covers 64 Tegna-owned Stations in 51 markets across the DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse video services.
Nexstar Media has begun criticizing Dish Network in commercials on its stations as the retransmission dispute that has blacked out channels in 115 markets enters its third week.
Comcast said it has quietly reached a retransmission consent agreement with Hearst TV stations across the country, including continued carriage of about 35 out-of-market stations in 38 markets that were originally expected to be dropped when the current deal expires on Dec. 31. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dish Network has announced a multi-year agreement with Cox Media Group to restore 14 stations in 10 markets that had been blacked out on the satellite TV operator’s platforms since July. Dish didn’t announce terms of the agreement with Cox, which is owned by Apollo Global Management. Dish still has 164 Nexstar stations blacked out
Comcast last month posted a notice on its website that 35 local channels in 38 different markets would be dropped on Dec. 22. However, the cable operator has updated the message to say the 35 channels “may” be removed, and that it’s now negotiating with the stations’ owner, Hearst Communications, to keep them.
Four Massachusetts legislators have called on Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Hearst President Jordan Wertlieb to negotiate in good faith and resolve their carriage dispute so that ABC affiliate WCVB Boston stays on Comcast’s system serving Bristol County, Mass., residents.
Retransmission consent battles have become as much of a year-end tradition as eggnog and holly, and 2020 is no different, with at least two disputes brewing and certainly more to come. Tegna and Nexstar kicked off this year’s station negotiation season with blackouts.
Nexstar Media Group TV stations in 120 markets and 42 states as well as WGN America nationwide have gone dark on Dish Network platforms after days of negotiations between the companies failed to yield a deal. In all, 164 stations are offline.
Approximately 60 Tegna television stations were dropped after carriage negotiations failed to reach a new contract Tuesday evening. The old contract between the station group and the satellite and cable provider expired last month and was extended until 7 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The group broadcaster grants a retrans extension to Dec. 1 as talks continue.