Hearst issues statement on TWC stalemate

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Time Warner CableHere is the latest update from Hearst Television, after all Hearst O&O stations except one (WISN-ABC Milwaukee) have been dark across the country on Time Warner Cable systems since 7/10. Negotiations broke down because, according to Time Warner, Hearst wants a 300% increase in compensation for its stations’ programming on TWC systems across the country.


Hearst stations pulled their signals at midnight on 7/10. The Hearst stations that are not currently being carried by Time Warner Cable include: WTAE-ABC Pittsburgh, WLWT-NBC Cincinnati, KITV-ABC Honolulu; WCVB-ABC Boston; WMTW-ABC Portland ME; WNNE-NBC Hartford VT/Hanover, NH; WPTZ-NBC Plattsburg NY; WPTZ-D2 -This TV Plattsburgh NY; WXII-NBC Winston-Salem NC; KCWE-CW and KMBC-ABC Kansas City MO; KETV-ABC Lincoln NE and WLKY-CBS Louisville.

Here is the statement from Hearst:

Notwithstanding assertions by representatives of Time Warner Cable that they are negotiating with Hearst Television, Time Warner is attempting to create the illusion of a breakdown of the retransmission consent negotiation process. Although Hearst Television presented Time Warner with a proposal yesterday that was within 5% of its offer to Hearst on July 9, Time Warner has failed to respond.

Hearst Television’s President, David Barrett, said, “As of today, Time Warner Cable is attempting to portray a stalemate – when none exists.” Barrett added “We’re disappointed to say that Time Warner Cable is refusing to participate in a negotiating process that has enabled us to conclude more than 150 agreements, without service interruptions, in recent months. Instead, Time Warner is acting as the conductor of the public relations bandwagon ridden by other multi-channel video distributors in various unrelated negotiations with program providers.”

In 20 years of negotiations with distributors, Hearst Television has experienced only one brief disruption of service – this in contrast to multiple service disruptions involving Time Warner in recent years. Barrett noted “It has become clear that Time Warner, as the leader in the lobbying effort to roll back the 1992 Cable Act, which was designed to preserve the health of local television broadcasting and has worked as Congress intended, has decided to hold its subscribers hostage in the hope that it can pressure Congress to intervene.”

Barrett concluded: “This dispute is ripe for settlement – today.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I cannot believe that CW doesn’t intervene since their ratings could potentially be affected. They have many good shows like The Vampire Diaries, Nikita to name a few. Come on kids let’s get this resolved.

  2. Congress gave the broadcasters the right to “charge” cable companies back in 1992. However up until recently (~2009) they’ve seemed to understand and appreciate the “mutually beneficial” aspect of being carried on cable systems…….but recently (again ~2009) something “new” has pushed them over the edge and since then they’ve played super-hard-ball on retransmission-consent fees (the thing that …is at the center of this issue). Perhaps the “model” is breaking for advertising-support broadcast and they need the money (certainly appears so with the levels of increase they ask for) being “watered down” in the ever-changing media environment; certainly the networks themselves (who must be feeling all the same pressures) are pressing the affiliates like WDRB and WLKY to hammer out these seeemingly “greedy” deals. And yes, that ultim……ately (and ironically, since broadcast is FREE over-the-air) means that each and every one of us pays more, regardless of the subscription service to which we subscribe, be it Dish, DirecTV, U-Verse.

    Futher, there is the broadcast perception that the cable operators built their business on their backs and now they want what’s fair (relative to the ESPNs and Turners of the world). Being a small player in the cable side of things, I happen to be privvy to some of the “behind-the-scenes” issues going on here, but I can see both sides…… but if the cable subscriber would take a breath and think about it, they might see their operator (Time Warner/Insight in this case) standing up for rate increases, up to the point of being willing to drop a station and take the customer heat, as a good thing.

    All that said, anyone’s best bet would be to call their Senator or Congressman and demand retransmission-consent reform………..that’s what’s behind it all. So, don’t be too hard on either TW or WLKY. They are just playing the game Congress subjected us all to many years ago. Plus, WLKY isn’t as much the master of their own destiny as trhey’d like since they are owned by Hearst……..two NYC companies duking it out with us caught in the Congress-allowed crossfire. Call your elected representative and let them know this is out of control! I feel the braodcasters have forgotten that they command FREE use of the airwaves.

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