LIN back on after retrans standoff


Cable subscribers to Suddenlink’s systems in the Austin and Albuquerque markets are again viewing LIN television stations for the first time since New Year’s Eve. No word on the financial terms of the retrans settlement, but LIN seems to like the deal.

“We are extremely pleased to reach a fair market agreement with Suddenlink. We appreciate the loyalty of our viewers while we went through this intensive negotiation process, but the result is one which will, in the long run, greatly benefit local viewers and, we believe, will strengthen both Suddenlink’s local cable systems and LIN’s local broadcast stations,” said LIN TV’s Executive Vice President Digital Media Gregory M. Schmidt. “We are delighted to put this episode behind us and look forward to working with Suddenlink in the years to come,” he added.

LIN’s KXAN-TV (Ch. 36, NBC) in the Austin, TX DMA and KBIM-TV (Ch. 10, CBS) Roswell, NM, which is a satellite of KRQE-TV (Ch. 13, CBS) Albuquerque, NM, were pulled off Suddenlink’s systems when the previous retrans agreement expired December 31st (1/3/08 TVBR #1). Although Suddenlink went for nearly three months without offering its 30,000 or so subscribers one of the main local over-the-air signals in each market, the small MSO eventually came to terms with LIN.

RBR/TVBR observation: Slowly but surely the cable industry is coming to grips with the new reality. Broadcast television content is not free anymore. If you think you can do without local news/weather/sports, the top network shows, the Olympics, the Super Bowl and etc. Fine. Just be prepared to watch Dish and DirecTV take away an even bigger chunk of your market. They’re paying for local-to-local retrans.