LIN in retrans standoff with Charter


LIN TV says it has not been able to come to terms with the cable MSO on compensation for retransmission consent, so it expects Charter to discontinue carriage of LIN stations in seven markets when the current contract expires June 30th. LIN is telling viewers they can still see their local news and favorite programming with an antenna or by taking advantage of a promotional deal that LIN has cut with Dish Network.

“Most cable operators, like their satellite and telephony competitors, now understand and acknowledge that fari and equitable compensation is essential to ensure the viability of our local outlets which are such a big part of the value they provide to consumers,” said LIN Exec. VP Digital Media Gregory Schmidt. He added that LIN will continue to “work hard” at reaching a deal with Charter.

Meanwhile, LIN’s stations in Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Hartford-New Haven, Springfield, MA, Dayton, Providence and Toledo are enlisting local viewers to pressure Charter to keep them on its systems.

“Charter charges you a fee to provide WDTN-TV 2. It also charges you a fee to provide cable networks. Charter shares that fee with the cable networks. It has never shared that fee with us. We have asked Charter to share the fee with us as well, which amounts to less than a penny a day. This is much less than it compensates many of its cable networks, none of which have anywhere near the viewing that WDTN-TV 2 has,” explains WDTN-TV Dayton President and General Manager Lisa Borhorst in a letter to viewers posted on the station’s website. She also provided a phone number for people to call Charter and tell the cable company that they don’t want to lose the local NBC station.

Meanwhile, LIN is pitching Dish Network as an alternative, with its local-to-local channels in several of the affected markets. For a limited time, new Dish subscribers in the Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Hartford-New Haven and Providence markets will receive a $50 incentive for switching to the satellite service.

RBR/TVBR observation: The free ride is over, but some cable companies are having trouble coming to terms with that reality. Chances are that Charter will relent before June 30th comes around. If not, the MSO probably won’t go very long denying its customers access to LIN’s major network affiliates. In the meantime, it works out well for Dish, which will gain a few new customers.