LIN Media and Mediacom come to retransmission terms


It took about a month and a half, but the wrestling match over retransmission consent between television group LIN Media and cable MSO Mediacom has been resolved. LIN television stations had been dark on Mediacom systems since the beginning of September, with one notable exception.

The website of a LIN-owned television station made the announcement to its viewers: “We are pleased to inform you that we have reached a contract with Mediacom. We appreciate your tremendous support throughout these negotiations. This fair resolution ensures that we can continue to provide top quality news, sports, entertainment, and other local programming that is most important to you.”

The failure to see eye-to-eye caused LIN to pull its programming when the previous retransmission contract expired. The markets that had been affected immediately included Mobile AL-Pensacola FL, Grand Rapids MI, Green Bay WI, Fort Wayne IN, Terre Haute IN and Lafayette IN.

The exception was the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News DMA, which include NBC WAVY and Fox WVBT. LIN allowed the cable system to continue running the stations’ extremely important local news coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

RBR-TVBR observation: Most retransmission agreements are reached with no disruption of service, and when there is a disruption, it usually doesn’t last all that long.

The FCC must remember that despite MSO finger-pointing (the mean broadcaster pulled his signal, and we didn’t do anything) is hollow – the decision of an MSO to stubbornly play hardball can force a broadcaster to this action of last resort. There are two sides to this negotiation, but it is simply the best way to arrive at a fair market-based price for a television station’s very valuable subscriber-drawing content.

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