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WFLA Faces Cable Blackout Over Retrans Deal

Negotiations between Media General’s Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA and cable provider Bright House Networks are coming down to the wire.

The deadline to reach an agreement over retransmission fees is scheduled for 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 31.  If no agreement is in place by then, Bright House may drop the station from its lineup cutting viewer’s ability to watch their favorite NBC shows.

The companies are duking it out away from the negotiating table. WFLA aired warnings about the impending blackout to its viewers (watch the video after the jump) and posted arguments on a web page called “Don’t Drop News Channel 8″ where it wrote in part,

We understand that companies like Bright House pay fees as high as $4.40 per subscriber per month for ESPN and around $1.00 per subscriber per month for TNT and Disney Channel.  These channels have NO local programming, NO local employees, NO local investments, and little to no audience, all unlike News Channel 8. Yet, we are asking for nowhere near what Time Warner/Bright House pays for ESPN, even though our ratings trounce ESPN’s.

Similar negotiations between WFLA and Verizon FiOS concluded in an agreement two days before the deadline.

Here’s the story WFLA did about the deal.

[Florida News Center][Tampa Bay Online]

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