Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soon, you may have no reason at all to even have cable...

Channel blackouts may not be over
Time Warner balking at paying broadcasters more to retransmit signal.

By Jim DeBrosse

Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DAYTON — More station blackouts may be looming for cable subscribers here and across the country, industry experts warn.

The recent loss of LIN TV stations, including Dayton's WDTN-TV Channel 2, from Time Warner Cable's lineup is only the latest skirmish between cable operators and television stations that want money for allowing cable operators to retransmit their programming.

In coming months, Time Warner will enter negotiations with Univision, Fox, Discovery and parts of NBC, according to Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield. And as advertising revenue slumps, TV stations are looking to bump up their consent fees.

Cable companies insist they shouldn't have to pay to retransmit channels their subscribers can get free with an antenna. They say federal regulations that grant regional monopolies to TV networks give broadcasters an unfair advantage in negotiations.

Broadcasters argue they provide programming that cable companies simply resell to their subscribers. "To me, it's no different than Target selling sweaters. No wholesaler is going to give them sweaters for free," Barry Faber, vice president of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said Monday, Oct. 13. Sinclair owns Dayton's Fox 45.

Networks have had the right to negotiate retransmission fees since Congress overturned a law protecting the cable industry in 1992. LIN TV is seeking 3 cents per month per cable subscriber from Time Warner. The Big Ten Network, which concluded a contract with Time Warner Aug. 25, asked for $1.10 per month per subscriber.


I love my DirecTV.