Time Warner Cable, Sinclair Reach Retrans Pact

Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcast reached an agreement in principle Saturday (Jan. 15) hours before the midnight deadline. The retransmission pact, which covers carriage of 28 stations in 21 markets, is expected to be finalized in the next seven days, TWC said in a statement.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We’re pleased to reach an agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting without any interruption in service for our customers,” said Rob Marcus, president and COO of Time Warner Cable.

The original carriage deal between the two parties was set to expire on New Year’s Eve, but the parties agreed to a two-week extension. On Friday, the companies extended the deadline one more day to complete negotiations.

Like many retransmission consent negotiations, the one between TWC and Sinclair had its share of finger pointing and posturing, enough to give proponents of retransmission reform ample reason to call for change to the rules set by Congress in 1992.

“Until the Federal Communications Commission changes outdated rules that strongly favor broadcasters, consumers across the nation will be subject to blackouts and blackouts threat,” said the American Television Alliance in a statement following TWC’s announcement that it had a deal with Sinclair. “We are encouraged by reports that the FCC is moving forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and urge the commission to act swiftly.”

The FCC’s promised it would open up a rulemaking on retransmission consent reform in December and could be about to circulate or begin the process as early as this week.