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LIN TV, Charter Retrans Talks Stall

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Retransmission negotiations between LIN TV and Charter Communications have stalled. As a result, LIN TV said Wednesday (June 4) that it expects Charter to discontinue carriage of 11 TV stations when the current contract expires June 30.

Charter carries LIN TV stations in six markets including the NBC, ABC and MyNetwork TV affiliates in Grand Rapids, Mich.; the Fox affiliate in Green Bay, Wisc.; the ABC and MyNetworkTV affiliates in Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; the NBC affiliate in Springfield, Mass.; the NBC affiliate in Dayton, Ohio; the CBS and Fox affiliates in Providence, R. I.; and the Fox affiliate in Toledo, Ohio.

LIN TV has taken a tough stand in its negotiations with cable operators, seeking what it believes is compensation from cable operators that is "comparable to those given cable networks."

To increase its bargaining power with cable operators, LIN TV in March inked a marketing and promotional agreement with DISH Network Corp. to encourage consumers to switch to DISH if  a LIN TV signal has the potential to be pulled or is removed from a cable lineup. For a limited time, new subscribers to DISH in Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Hartford-New Haven, ad Providence, will receive a $50 incentive to switch to DISH.

"Most cable operators, like their satellite and telephony competitors, now understand and acknowledge that fair 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 Gregory Schmidt, executive vp of digital media for LIN TV.

Both parties could still come to a resolution. "This is an evolving marketplace with a lot of background noise so reaching an agreement can sometimes be difficult. We will continue to work hard with Charter in hopes of reaching a deal with them soon," Schmidt said.
So far, LIN TV's retransmission negotiations have paid off. In first quarter, LIN TV's retransmission consent fees, increased 119 percent.