Facing a June 30 deadline, Media General and Dish Network reached an agreement preventing the possible blackout of 17 stations on the satellite operator. The station group has agreed to give Dish a 90-day extension on the retransmission consent agreement scheduled to lapse over the weekend as negotiations continue.
The distribution deal between CBS and Time Warner Cable expired at midnight ET on Sunday, and reps for the two sides said negotiations covering the Eye’s O&Os and cable networks continued past the deadline. No blackouts of CBS-owned networks have been reported on Time Warner Cable systems.
WTMJ Milwaukee is among the Journal Broadcast Group stations carried on Time Warner Cable that could remove themselves from the carrier if a contract dispute over retransmission compensation is not settled. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Currently, broadcasters get about $1 per month for each subscriber from the television service providers that carry their stations. Broadcasters may, however, be moving toward parity with other cable channels, which individually earn more in retransmission fees than broadcasters do but not as much as ESPN.
DirecTV could lose the right to carry Gannett’s 23 TV stations on Dec. 1 unless the two sides reach a new programming pact by then. The current retransmission consent agreement between the two companies expires at midnight on Friday. Stations affected include several in large cities including Washington, Atlanta and Denver.
The key sticking points: crafting an agreement that would address the varying needs of all affiliates, small and large, and network negotiators handling details of local retrans deals, including negotiating fees for digital subchannels that carry non-NBC programming. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.
In a message to the two cable providers’ subscribers, the Allbritton ABC affiliate in Washington says it may be necessary to pull the station if a deal can’t be reached by Jan. 1.
The latest wrinkle in the retrans war is that Time Warner Cable systems can pick up Fox primetime and sports programming if they are denied carriage of the local Fox affiliate. It would appear to undermine the retrans efforts of affiliates, but the network maintains that it really wants to help the affiliates by getting TWC to pick up a “cooling off feed” that comprises the entire affiliate signal for a year. Affiliates are skeptical. Some see it as parternalistic meddling. Others simply aren’t sure what Fox’s intentions are and what the Fox-TWC agreement will mean to their future retrans earnings.
As the pioneer in seeking retransmission consent cash from cable systems, Nexstar CEO Perry Sook talked about the future of retrans at Wells Fargo Securities’ Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
As promised, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation officially confirmed today that it will hold hearings on retransmission consent next week, on Nov. 17.