Sinclair and Comcast come to terms on retransmission


Earlier in the year Sinclair Broadcast Group agreed to a new multiyear retransmission contract with Time Warner Cable after a public battle. Now word is out that Sinclair has a deal with Comcast that required no exchange of PR sniper-fire.

In a 3/3/11 statement, Sinclair announced “…that it has reached an agreement-in-principle with Comcast Corporation for a multi-year agreement for the continued carriage of 36 stations in 22 markets owned and/or operated by Sinclair or to which Sinclair provides sales services.”

That makes it about a 62% solution. Sinclair’s entire television footprint includes 58 stations owned and/or operated in 35 markets.

The earlier deal with Time Warner Cable involved 28 stations in 17 markets. The negotiations between the two parties had elements of contentiousness, but in the end were also resolved with no disruption of service.

Wells Fargo analysts said the result was exactly as expected. “We were happy to see that SBGI and CMCSA were able to reach an agreement without a public argument,” the firm said in a statement, adding that it bode well for future talks with Cox.

Wells Fargo added that it did not expect any major retransmission developments coming out of the FCC during its 3/3/11 Open Meeting.

RBR-TVBR observation: The headline here is that there is no headline – no angry consumers missing out on some favorite broadcast program and getting local and federal politicians worked into an uproar. But the bottom line is that this is the way the negotiations usually work. A peaceful price-for-value contract is negotiated and signed before anybody even knew it was happening. No problem, no new regulation needed.