It may seem like there’s a simple process of determining receivables from multichannel providers. But funny things can happen on the way to revenue recognition. Here are tips on dealing with some common challenges.
Digital is a tough racket in any of its many manifestations — websites, apps, streaming, marketing services. But that’s where the real upside for broadcasting is, not in spot or retrans. Station groups have got to keep experimenting with digital, keep investing in it, keep trying to get a foothold.
Atlantic Broadband, the local cable provider serving viewers in Talbot, Queen Anne’s and Kent counties in Maryland, has returned CBS affiliate WBOC Salisbury, Md., TV to its channel lineup after reaching a long-term retrans agreement. The station has been off the cable system since late December.
This announcement appeared on the Cox Communications website Sunday: “Cox Communications has reached an agreement with Gray Television. Gray programming will be returned to the Cox lineup in all the communities we serve that have local Gray TV stations. We appreciate our customers’ patience and support as we sought to reach an agreement.”
Sen. Steve Daines on Saturday announced that DirecTV and television station owner Cordillera Communications have reached an agreement to restore CBS programs and end a 10-day blackout of the network across much of Montana.
U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is asking DirecTV and Cordillera Communications, the owner of Montana’s CBS affiliates to get the network back on satellite after a weeklong absence. Daines is weighing in two days before CBS broadcasts Sunday’s NFL playoff game between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. DirecTV would like Cordillera’s permission to carry the game, and only the game, under the terms of its old contract as negotiations continue.
Gray Television’s NBC affiliate WOWT Omaha, Neb., went off the air Wednesday on the Cox cable system.The two parties were unable to reach a new retrans agreement by a midnight Tuesday deadline and Cox dropped the station from its television lineup Wednesday, said Vic Richards, WOWT VP-GM. The negotiations are continuing, said Beth Weiss, senior manager of public affairs for Cox Communications’ central region, which includes Nebraska and Iowa.
Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh, N.C. duopoly of WRAL (CBS) and WRAZ (Fox) are once again available to Dish Network subscribers. The blackout of the two stations, which began Dec. 22, ended at 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to Steven Hammel, the stations’ general manager.
With no new retransmission consent deal in place by deadline, Cox Communications subscribers today lost Gray Television’s WOWT Omaha, Neb. (NBC); KAKE Wichita, Kan. (ABC); and WIBW Topeka, Kan. (CBS).
The dominant cable provider in the Fargo-Moorhead, N.D., market reached a new carriage deal for Gray Television’s NBC and CBS affiliates almost 24 hours after the 5 p.m. Friday deadline. The original deadline was midnight New Year’s Eve.
Citing an inability to reach a new agreement with DirecTV, Cordillera Communication’s NBC affiliate KSBY Santa Barbara, Calf., went off the air on DirecTV just as new year celebrations nationwide were being televised. “Both sides have made considerable compromises to try to come to terms, but fundamental differences remain on several key points including the fair value of our programming,” according to a statement on KSBY.com.
Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced Thursday that it signed a new distribution agreement with Charter Communications before the expiration of the prior contract at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 31, enabling Charter subscribers in 15 markets to enjoy uninterrupted access to network, local news and other programming.
Negotiations have slowed between Satview Broadband Ltd, which provides cable, Internet and phone services to parts of Northern Nevada, and Nexstar Broadcasting, which owns ABC affiliate KTVX and CW affil KUCW. The two parties face a Dec. 31 deadline.
Negotiations between Schurz-owned CBS affiliate WDBJ Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va., and the cable MSO have not produced a new retransmission consent agreement. Without one, WDBJ could drop from the Cox lineup at the end of the year.
As the carriage fight between Fox News Channel and Dish Network stretches into its second week, Dish Network chief Charlie Ergen is blaming an “extortion” attempt by Fox for the impasse that led to a blackout in the early hours of Dec. 21.
The agreement between ABC’s eight owned stations and the National Cable Television Cooperative also includes the authenticated Watch ABC live streaming service.
NBCUniversal has threatened to drop its broadcast network and 10 cable channels on Cable One if a renewal deal isn’t in place by New Year’s Day. If an agreement isn’t in place by then, NBCU says around 475,000 Cable One video subscribers spread across regions including the Midwest will lose access to NBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, MSNBC and Telemund.
Dish Network subscribers will continue to receive Journal Broadcast Group stations in nine markets.
Maybe the most interesting facet of CBS’s Saturday deal with Dish Network is its exemption from AutoHop. You can’t skip ads anymore on The Big Bang Theory, folks. On the bright side, CBS is no longer suing Dish over the technology. And that leaves a very interesting question open: Is AutoHop now less attractive as an incentive to consumers than as a bargaining chip in carriage negotiations?
It agrees to continue negotiating a new distribution agreement with the satellite service covering its 60 stations until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 10.
CBS and Dish Network reached a multi-year carriage agreement after CBS-owned stations went dark in 18 markets on Friday night. According to the agreement made early on Saturday morning, Dish can carry the CBS O&Os, as well as CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian Channel, TVGN and Showtime Networks, which includes Showtime TV Everywhere and Video-on-Demand rights. Additionally, the companies have agreed to drop pending litigation over Dish’s AutoHop commercial-skipping functionality after Dish agreed the tool will not be available for CBS-owned stations and affiliates in the first week of a program airing.
CBS has chosen not to blink in its standoff with Dish Network. Effective 7 p.m. ET Friday, CBS programming is no longer available in New York , Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Dallas, Denver, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and several other markets, the network said. The decision to go dark in those cities follows a protracted dispute between the two companies over how much Dish should pay to carry CBS programming, a dispute that has occasionally turned ugly, with harsh words being hurled on both sides.
Sixty stations are potentially affected as the station group and satellite distributor have yet to reach a new distribution agreement.
CBS has issued a one-line statement saying its programming remains on Dish Network for now as negotiations continue into the evening past a 7 p.m. ET deadline that CBS had imposed. “CBS remains on the air with Dish while negotiations progress into the evening,” the statement said.
Verizon FiOS and Cox Media Group, the new owner of Boston Fox affiliate WFXT, settled their retrans dispute Wednesday night, restoring access to the station for Massachusetts FiOS customers following a blackout on Thanksgiving Day.
Some football fans in Massachusetts and Rhode Island had to scramble to find alternative ways to watch the Eagles-Cowboys Thanksgiving game as the Fox station in the area, WFXT, which carries the matchup, went dark on Verizon FiOS at 3 a.m. Thursday, affecting 400,000 customers. The reason is awfully familiar — another retransmission fee dispute between Verizon and Cox Media Group, which bought the Boston-based station WFXT from Fox in June and embarked on renegotiating retransmission fees.
With negotiations going down to the wire, CBS is warning of a potential blackout of its TV stations for millions of customers of satellite giant Dish Network. Dish’s current distribution contract with CBS expires Thursday, which could lead to a blackout of CBS’s signal in 14 markets where CBS has O&Os. “Dish has been deliberately dragging its feet for months,” CBS said today in a statement. “Now, as the deadline nears, Dish appears willing to drop the most popular programming in its entire channel lineup because it won’t negotiate the same sort of deal that other cable, satellite and [telecommunication] companies have struck with CBS.”
House Commerce’s Republicans and Democrats are ready to introduce a compromise version of the Satellite Television Extension Localism Act today. The new bill combines provisions from a STELA bill the House passed earlier and Senate Commerce’s version of the bill, STAVRA (Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act). The legislation, to be introduced by Fred Upton, Greg Walden and ranking member Anna Eshoo, would prohibit joint retrans negotiations and eliminate the set-top box integration ban, according to a committee spokesman.
The trade group filed a motion to intervene Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding broadcasters’ petition seeking to block the FCC from forcing the disclosure of “highly confidential broadcaster distribution agreements and related negotiation strategies.” ACA argues for third-party acces to such documents.
CBS started alerting viewers Friday night that Dish Network could pluck out the Eye in certain markets, in the latest dispute to hit the pay-TV biz. “Attention, Dish customers! You could soon lose CBS,” the broadcaster’s spots said. Over all, there are 14 CBS-owned stations covered under Dish agreement, plus seven CW, two My Network TV and three independent stations. CBS’s contract with Dish is set to expire Nov. 20. In addition, Showtime and CBS Sports Network could be affected on Dish if the companies fail to reach an agreement.
A new SNL Kagan analysis says U.S. TV station owners’ retrans fees are expected to reach $9.3 billion by 2020, versus the projected level of $4.9 billion this year. Reverse comp will also rise, but stations should still post net retrans growth.
TVFreedom.org’s Robert Kenny: “The pay TV industry has been pushing for video marketplace changes for the past few years that would provide them with an unfair regulatory advantage over TV broadcasters. The motive: Pure greed on the part of cable and satellite TV providers.”
Cable One subscribers in Fargo, N.D., could lose ABC and The CW unless a contract agreement is reached by the end of the month. Scott Geston, GM of Cable One in Fargo-Moorhead, said the provider has been in negotiations with station owner Forum Communications Co. for several weeks for the continued right to offer ABC affiliat WDAY, which also airs The CW on a subchannel.
Broadcast lobbyists have been successful in knocking out two of the provisions from Senate legislation designed to hobble broadcasters’ ability to negotiate for retrans payments. And as the legislation is reconciled with the companion House bill and moves toward final passage, it’s unlikely to get worse for broadcasters and could become better.
The Senate panel OKs the satellite-broadcaster retrans legislation without the Local Choice provision sought by cable.
The Washington communications attorney will join the broadcaster as deputy general counsel.
One retrans reform provision that is expected to be included in the revised version of the Senate bill would, like a similar measure included in legislation approved by the House, bar TV stations in the same market from coordinating retrans deal negotiations, unless those stations are jointly owned.
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.