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Retrans

Seven Months Later, Sinclair’s WNWO Back on Buckeye Cable

sinclair_buckeyeThe seven month long retrans dispute between Block Communications owned Buckeye Cable and Sinclair owned Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO has been resolved.

At times, the tensions in the dispute went public with Buckeye depicting Sinclair as the Grinch in an ad in Block owned newspaper, The Blade. Sinclair countered by calling Buckeye’s tactics “juvenile” and “silly antics.”

Sinclair released a statement that said in part, “In addition to customary terms and conditions, the agreement provides for Buckeye to pay a signing bonus to WNWO-TV, which is in an amount that more than covers the legal fees incurred as a result of a complaint filed by Buckeye at the Federal Communications Commission alleging that Sinclair had failed to negotiate in good faith.”

While The Blade reported, “Both parties also agreed to withdraw the complaints they had filed against each other with the FCC.”

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Hearst and DISH Reach Retrans Agreement

hearst_dish_304Hearst Television has announced it has reached a retransmission agreement with DISH Network.

Hearst’s 29 stations were pulled from the satellite provider after the two couldn’t reach an agreement last night.

“We appreciate the support and patience of our viewers, advertisers and local communities served by our stations,” Hearst said in a statement. “We regret the inconvenience they’ve experienced over the past several hours. We are pleased the interruption was brief and that our stations have been restored on DISH Network systems.”

Hearst Stations Pulled from Dish Over Retrans

Hearst_DishHearst’s 29 stations are off DISH Network today after retrans negotiations between the two companies broke down last night around 10:00 p.m.

“It appears that DISH does not have a problem with the rates we are seeking,” read one of the many press releases about the dispute sent by Hearst stations. We must note that in every release we got from the individual stations, this quote was attributed to that station’s GM.

The release went on to say, “But the DISH negotiating team is seeking other terms that we don‟t have in our deals with any other cable or satellite distributor or telco, nor do we have them in our current deal with DISH. Frankly, we are scratching our heads as to why DISH would hold their own customers and our viewers hostage for terms that are radically off-market.”

“Hearst blacked out its channels to use viewers as bargaining chips as it makes unreasonable demands on Dish and its customers,” Dish EVP and chief commercial officer Dave Shull said in a statement as quoted by Multichannel News. “We offered to keep the channels on while we try to reach a deal, but Hearst refuses to put viewers first.”

You can see examples of the releases after the jump. Read more

FCC Expected to Vote on Shared Service Agreement Ban

FCC_304Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to ask the FCC to vote on a ban of some shared-service agreements in the commissions next meeting.

The proposal is also expected to ban local stations from teaming up in retransmission negotiations.

Bloomberg reports Sinclair Broadcasting, along with several other station groups including Nexstar and LIN Media would be forced to give up some stations if the proposal passes.

Sinclair’s revenue last year from the type of arrangement the officials said Wheeler is most directly targeting amounted to $36 million, according to the filing. Sinclair reported $1.36 billion in revenue last year.

Sinclair fell 1.9 percent to $29.51 at 10:12 a.m. New York time. Nexstar lost 1.7 percent to $42.84, while Lin Media declined less than 1 percent to $23.09.

Wheeler needs to win a vote to pass the change at the FCC, where he is part of the three-member Democratic majority. The agency’s next meeting is March 31 in Washington. Read more

Sinclair Ends Retrans Negotiations with Buckeye Cable over WNWO Blackout

sinclair_buckeyeSinclair Broadcasting has announced the retransmission negotiations between its Toledo, OH, NBC affiliate WNWO and Buckeye Cable have ended without agreement.

“We apologize to Buckeye’s subscribers for the inconvenience this has caused,” Barry Faber, Sinclair’s chief negotiator said in a statement. “While we are aware that Buckeye has been providing its subscribers with a monthly credit of twenty-four cents ($0.24) as a result of the absence of WNWO, obviously this represents a mere fraction of the value of WNWO’s programming and is insulting not only to WNWO, but to Buckeye’s own subscribers.”

The very public fight began in December with the Block Communications’ owned Buckeye running ads about the blackout in its owned paper the The Blade. In one ad, Buckeye depicted Sinclair as a Grinch-like figure called “Sinclinch.” In another Buckeye called WNWO a “low-viewership, FREE, over-the-air station with inferior on-air news talent.”

Buckeye’s President and general manager Jeff Abbas said in an open letter on its website, “I want to assure our customers that we want to continue to carry WNWO, we are committed to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement as quickly as possible, and we are willing to pay fair compensation for WNWO’s over-the-air signal on our system. We believe, however, that fair compensation should reflect WNWO’s value to our customers, compared to other Toledo stations.”

New Year’s Resolutions: A Look Retrans Deals Left Undone

CableTV_304CableFax has put together a list of some retrans deals that remain unsettled.

While there’ still time for some on the list to avoid the dreaded blackout, others have already devolved into pissing matches (see Buckeye and Sinclair). Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what 2014 brings.

Cable One and Lockwood Broadcasting: If a deal isn’t reached by midnight Dec 31, Cable One could lose NBC affil KTEN (North Texas, Southeast Oklahoma) as well as ABC Texoma and CW Texoma. At summer’s end, Cable One faced a potential dustup with Quincy Newspapers (KTIV NBC affil), but the two were able to work out a new agreement and avoid a blackout. However, the MSO has shown it’s not afraid of a programming fight. Turner nets, including TNT, TBS and Cartoon, were off Cable One for most of October as the two wrangled over a renewal of their contract.
Cablevision and Meredith: Meredith-owned WFSB, a CBS affiliate out of Hartford, CT, started making noise this week over a retrans contract that expires at midnight Dec. 31. “We will continue to negotiate with Cablevision. Unfortunately, we do not know if, or when, we will reach an agreement. In the meantime, we hope you will continue supporting local television and watch us through alternative means,” said a message on WFSB’s website. The majority of Cablevision’s CT customers receive CBS programming from WCBS Channel 2. Read more

Sinclair Calls Buckeye Cable’s Retrans Attack Ads ‘Silly Antics’

buckeye_sinclair_grinchBuckeye Cablesystem seems to be waging a very public battle against Sinclair Broadcasting in a fight over retrans fees for Sinclair’s NBC station WNWO.

The saga began when Sinclair pulled its newly acquired station off the Ohio based cable system last Sunday.

Buckeye, which is owned by Block Communications, started placing print ads in the Block-owned newspaper The Blade depicting Sinclair as the bad guy in the fight. (see the gallery of ads after the jump)

In one of the ads, Buckeye called WNWO a “low-viewership, FREE, over-the-air station with inferior on-air news talent.” In another, it painted Sinclair as a Grinch figure called “Sinclinch” and wrote, “The people of Metro Toledo like Christmas a lot, But the Sinclinch of Hunt Valley Maryland does not.” Sinclair is based in Hunt Valley, MD

Sinclair EVP and general counsel Barry Faber told TVSpy The Blade refused to allow his station group to buy space in order to give its side of the story.

Calling the tactics employed by Buckeye “juvenile” and “silly antics,” Faber told TVSpy the retrans fight is simple. He said it’s a business deal where one company doesn’t want to pay what another company is asking for. Read more

Sinclair Pulls WNWO from Buckeye Cable Over Retrans Fees

Toledo newspaper The Blade is reporting Sinclair Broadcast Group group told Buckeye CableSystem to pull the signal of its newly acquired NBC affiliate WNWO off the cable system after their previous retransmission consent contract expired at midnight Sunday.

In addition to the video above, Buckeye also posted an update on negotiations to its website. “Sinclair is demanding to be paid about 10 times more than what WNWO was receiving before the sale; far in excess of what leading Toledo stations receive, even though WNWO has nowhere near the viewership of the leading stations.”

Sinclair bought WNWO as part of its recent purchase of Barrington Broadcasting stations.

Buckeye is offering free digital antennas to its subscribers as one solution for watching NBC during the blackout.

Retransmission Fees and Blackouts Targeted in Two Separate Bills Before Congress

CableTVTwo bills introduced into Congress this week are taking aim at retransmission fees and blackouts.

The CHOICE or “Consumers Have Options in Choosing Entertainment” Act, introduced by California Representatives Anna Eshoo (D) and Zoe Lofgren (D), would ask the FCC to force interim carriage of a TV station during a retrans negotiation impasse and would allow consumers to opt out of paying for TV stations that elect retransmission consent. You can read all five provisions after the jump.

The Next Generation Television Marketplace Act, re-introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R) is “a comprehensive video reform bill that repeals outdated laws including compulsory copyright licenses, eliminates various mandates on private sector companies and consumers, and removes certain FCC broadcast and media ownership rules.” Read more

Bonten Media Stations Warn Viewers of Possible DISH Network Blackout

bonten media group logoBonten Media Group and DISH Network are facing a Saturday deadline to negotiate a new carriage agreement before Bonten’s 16 stations go dark on DISH.

On some Bonten stations, like KECI and KCFW in Missoula, Mont., viewers are being warned about the possibility of a service interruption. “We are simply advising customers that this could happen so they’re not surprised or caught unprepared if they want to prepare,” Richard Reingold, vice president and general manager of Bonten’s Montana stations, told the Missoulian.

The current carriage agreement expires December 8. Bonten Media says “good faith negotiations” are continuing.

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