Belo, Time Warner approach retransmission endgame

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The deadline for reaching a new deal for carriage rights of 12 Belo broadcast television stations on Time Warner Cable is Saturday 9/25/10 – and TWC is once again trying to turn subscribers against the broadcaster. But Belo, like Disney and others before it, is firing back.


TWC said it expected to come to an agreement before the deadline, but added, “Unfortunately, Belo is demanding a huge increase in what we pay – and will pull the plug if we don’t pay up. We think it’s unfortunate that broadcasters put viewers in the middle of business negotiations – and that it’s unfair to use blackout threats to boost their bottom line.”

TWC added that it was futile to switch to another MVPD, since Belo might well pull that plug too, if its demands aren’t met.

Belo’s President/GM in Dallas, Mike Devlin, who runs ABC WFAA-TV, used his station’s website to make his case. “WFAA has been discussing its carriage renewal with Time Warner for months trying to arrive at a fair and equitable solution. We do not want you, our viewers, caught in the middle. However, if there is no agreement reached, WFAA may come off the Time Warner system altogether. That is why we are working as hard as we can to reach an agreement before the contract expires on September 25.”

He continued, “Time Warner charges you for some channels you have probably never seen, and others you hardly watch at all. But what about channels such as WFAA: the most watched channel in North Texas? What about a channel dedicated to the local news and information that directly affects North Texans? Valuable WFAA coverage you depend on to keep your family and property safe in times of severe weather. What about channels such as WFAA “

Belo suggested getting WFAA directly off-air or finding an alternative MVPD service should it be unable to come to terms with TWC.

From TWC’s Get Tough or Roll Over website, here are the stations involved in the current negotiation:

* Austin TX (KVUE, ABC )

* Charlotte NC (WCNC, NBC)

* Dallas-Ft Worth TX (WFAA, ABC)

* Houston TX (KHOU, CBS)

* Louisville/Lexington KY (WHAS, ABC)

* Norfolk/Portsmouth (WVEC, ABC )

* Phoenix AZ (KTVK, independent)

* San Antonio TX (KENS, CBS )

* Spokane WA (KREM, CBS and KSKS, CW)

* Plus news stations TWCN in Texas and NWCN in Idaho.

RBR-TVBR observation: We can’t say it any better than Belo WFAA-TV Dallas President/GM Mike Devlin: “Out of hundreds of channels available on the Time Warner Cable system in North Texas, WFAA is among the most-watched. However a number of other channels with far less viewers are paid significantly more than WFAA by Time Warner. We don’t think that makes much sense.”