Tribune’s Spectrum Spat Brings Tough Talk From Charter


For television broadcasting companies, the collection of retransmission fees has proved to be a safety net for their publicly traded stock, guaranteeing quarterly income that in some cases has eclipsed that of ad dollars.

This is a problem for many MVPDs — the cable companies and DBS service providers, DISH Network and AT&T-owned DirecTV. For them, rate hikes seen by some of broadcast TV’s biggest station ownership groups are out of control, forcing MVPDs to pass the higher cost on to consumers through bill increases.

As 2019 enters its third day, one of the ugliest disputes to involve a major MVPD and one of the nation’s biggest station owners is unfolding in the nation’s two biggest markets, and in locales across the U.S. that just happen to include to big National Football League cities — presenting myriad problems for the NFL, viewers, and advertisers.

Tribune Broadcasting and Charter Communications-owned Spectrum are at war. A Saturday morning resolution is hoped for. It may not happen, given the war of words already underway.

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