Dish Network said that its subscribers lost access to the signal from stations bought by Apollo Global Management in 10 markets at 7 p.m. Saturday as retransmission consent negotiations failed. Apollo acquired the stations from Northwest Broadcasting last year.
The FCC has set comment dates for its proposal to allow cable operators to provide notice to customers about potential service or rate changes “as soon as possible.” Initial comments are due Feb. 6 and replies Feb. 21. The FCC voted unanimously on Dec. 12 to propose eliminating the requirement that cable operators provide their subs at least 30 days notice of a TV station channel coming off their systems, changing it to notice “as soon as possible” given that retrans deals are often struck in the 11th hour.
WISC, the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wisc., has been blacked out to U-verse subscribers because of a retransmission consent dispute between station owner Morgan Murphy Media and AT&T, which owns U-verse.
ViacomCBS said today it reached a new carriage agreement with Comcast that includes retransmission consent for 23 CBS-owned TV stations, including CBS-owned CW affiliates. The deal covers CBS’s cable properties and will make the streaming service CBS All Access available to Comcast customers via the Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms later this year.
At AT&T spokesman said a new retransmission consent agreement was reached Sunday, and stations are returning to DirecTV and AT&T in time for the NFL Playoffs and Golden Globes, among other programming.
Mission Broadcasting said its stations in 18 markets are no longer being carried by Dish Network because of a retransmission consent dispute. The stations were removed by Dish without warning Friday night, Mission said. The broadcaster said it had offered to extend its current agreement so viewers wouldn’t miss the beginning of the NFL playoff but Dish turned it down. Dish said the opposite happened, blaming Mission for the signals being pulled.
Hearst Television, after granting four temporary extensions to DirecTV and streaming service AT&T TV Now to try to hammer out a deal, pulled its 34 broadcast stations from the satellite giant’s customers Friday evening, after the parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement.
The Cox Media stations acquired by Apollo Global Management have been blacked out to subscribers to Verizon’s FiOS as the result of a retransmission consent fee dispute. Verizon’s deal with the stations expired Tuesday at midnight.
Fox reached a new carriage agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative, averting a New Year’s blackout. The NCTC represents more than 700 small and rural cable operators covering about 3 million subscribers.
Mediacom Communications said Tuesday evening it reached a retransmission consent deal with Nexstar Media Group, avoiding a blackout of the latter’s TV stations, since the old deal was scheduled to expire at midnight. Mediacom’s agreement comes hours after Nexstar reached similar retransmission consent deals with Comcast and Frontier Communications.
Wednesday evening at about 10:30 p.m. ET, Tegna said it “reached a multi-year agreement with Suddenlink with no interruption of service to viewers.” The previous retransmission consent contract was to expire at 11:59 p.m. ET. The agreement covers about 20 stations.
Tegna Inc. on Saturday released the following update on the status of negotiations with Suddenlink on a new retransmission consent agreement: “Tegna is working hard to reach a fair, market-based agreement with Suddenlink. While we hope a deal can be reached by 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 31 and avoid any interruption of service, we have a responsibility to inform our viewers of the current situation. We have begun notifying viewers of their options to continue watching our valuable local programming if the deadline passes without an agreement.”
There are only a few days left before folks will begin ringing in the New Year, but Fox Corp and NCTC are spending the final week of 2019 negotiating carriage agreements for the Fox O&Os and a number of cable networks, including Fox News, before their current deal’s Dec. 31 expiration date.
Congress is handing traditional broadcasters such as CBS and ABC a surprise victory in a contentious, multimillion-dollar TV lobbying fight by letting key parts of a 31-year-old satellite TV law die.
The Senate has put the STELAR retransmission consent reform vehicle on blocks, apparently for good. As expected the Senate has passed compromise bills that make the retrans good faith negotiation mandate for broadcasters and MVPDs permanent and sunsets the every-five-year renewal of the satellite distant signal compulsory license.
The FCC has voted unanimously to propose eliminating the requirement that cable operators provide their subs at least 30 days notice of a TV station channel coming off their systems, changing it to notice “as soon as possible” given that retrans deals are often struck in the 11th hour. It must still collect comment on the proposal and vote on a final order, but that will almost certainly happen.
A source familiar with the agreement said that there is a bicameral, bipartisan deal on House Energy & Commerce and Judiciary versions of bills that would essentially end the every-five-year STELAR reauthorization cycle, which has been a goal of the National Association of Broadcasters. STELAR’s renewal has been used as a vehicle for proposed retrans reforms NAB has opposed as unnecessary.
Comcast, Cox Communications and Charter Communications are blaming retransmission consent fees and sports rights for hikes to their monthly cable rates.
The House has passed a compromise bill, HR 5035, the Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA), that would make permanent the mandate that broadcasters and MVPDs negotiate in good faith. That mandate sunsets at the end of the year unless renewed. But the bill does not renew the compulsory license, which also sunsets at the end of the year if not renewed.
At CBS, where he was senior vice president from 1988 to 1993, Kriegel helped persuade Congress to require the cable TV industry to pay broadcasters for the right to retransmit over-the-air programming.
Congress is debating whether to renew the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, commonly referred to as STELAR, past Dec. 31, when it’s set to expire. Dr. George Ford, with the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies, says focus is on a key question: Should broadcasters get to charge whatever retransmission fee the market will bear?
AT&T reached a renewal of its retransmission agreement with Nashville License Holdings, which owns the CW affiliate in Nashville, lifting a six-month blackout and ending a dispute that affected a dozen stations that operate under shared service agreements with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has introduced yet another version of a STELAR renewal bill, the “Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act (STCPP) of 2019.” There are already Senate Commerce and House Energy & Commerce versions of a bill that would renew the satellite compulsory distant signal license and the mandate that broadcasters and MVPDs negotiate carriage deals with each other in good faith.
Denver-area regional sports network Altitude, blacked out by Comcast since August, sued the cable operator charging Comcast with violating antitrust laws and trying to put Altitude out of business.
Station owner Howard Stirks Holdings has settled its retrans dispute with AT&T and replaced its negotiating agent. The stations at issue, WEYI Flint-Saginaw, Mich., and WWMB Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C., had been off DirecTV since June.
Three of the Big Four broadcast networks have agreed to insure their viewers don’t lose access to distant signals if Congress lets the STELAR compulsory satellite license expire at year’s end, according to letters from those nets, and the fourth is about to do the same, according to a source familiar with the network’s thinking.
The FCC today ordered nine TV station groups linked to Sinclair Broadcast Group to return to the negotiating table with AT&T’s DirectTV after some consumers have been without access to 20 stations for five months.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which shares jurisdiction over the issue with Commerce, is putting a thumb on the scale for the sunset of the compulsory license that allows satellite providers to import distant network-affiliated TV signals into markets that lack them without having to negotiate individually for the license with broadcasters.
Regional sports network Altitude has reached a new carriage deal with AT&T’s DirecTV, ending a two-month blackout. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Viacom and CBS, nearing the completion of their merger, said that Ray Hopkins will serve as president, U.S. network distribution for ViacomCBS. Hopkins has been responsible for helping to drive CBS’s retransmission consent revenue. Tom Gorke, the top distribution at Viacom, is leaving the company.
Patricia Jo Boyers: “Smaller pay television providers are under assault from the excessive demands of local TV stations. Congress needs to step in and support legislative reforms that curb the undue price hikes and sudden signal blackouts designed to turn consumers against their traditional pay-TV providers.”
The FCC isn’t likely to loosen ownership restrictions anytime soon, said leaders from Nexstar, Gray and Meredith last week, but outside money is likely to continue coming into the industry while the ownership cap holds steady. L-r: Patrick McCreery of Meredith, Perry Sook of Nexstar and Pat LaPlatney of Gray. (Photo: Wendy Moger-Bross)
Fox Corp. and Charter Communications today said they struck a new “long term” carriage deal for Fox’s suite of TV networks, the latest in a recent series of agreements Fox has struck with various distributors. The pact covers distribution of Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, BTN and Fox Deportes. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The new carriage contract covers Sinclairs O&Os plus the Tennis Channel, Marquee Sports Network, 21 regional sports networks and the YES Network.
Fall brings football and retrans renewals. The FCC still has a retrans complaint pending from AT&T, and there’s some hope for congressional action.
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.
Fox Corp. and Dish Network ended a programming blackout Sunday that had kept thousands of the satellite-provider’s subscribers from watching Thursday Night Football and other Fox network favorites for the past week or so.
Charter Communication said Sunday that it reached a long-term retransmission consent deal with Tegna that will keep the broadcast group’s network affiliates available to the cable company’s subscribers. The new contract follows a week of extensions after the old agreement expired.
The new deal covers distribution of the Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, BTN and Fox Deportes.