LIN TV’s 15 stations carried by Time Warner Cable in 11 markets went dark midnight (Oct. 2) after the two parties failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement. About 2.7 million TWC subscribers were effected by the standoff in Austin, Tex.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Green Bay, Wisc.; Indianapolis, Terre Haute, and Ft. Wayne, Ind; Mobile, Ala.; and Springfield, Mass.
“We are still actively negotiating an agreement with Time Warner and hope for a fair resolution,” LIN TV said in a statement.
According to Time Warner Cable, LIN TV all but cut off negotiations. “We offered to work through the night to reach an agreement, and they refused,” said Melinda Witmer, chief programming officer for Time Warner Cable, which had asked for a short extension to complete negotiations. “It was LIN’s preference to pull their signal off the air.”
Like it has with other cable systems, LIN TV is holding out for TWC, the second largest cable operator, to pay “fair market value” for its programming. Time Warner’s position is that it should not pay for programming “which is available for free with an antenna or on the Internet.”
“LIN TV already makes millions of dollars in additional revenue as a direct result of being on Time Warner Cable,” Witmer said. “Demanding more is just plain greedy and our customers deserve better.”
As a hedge that the standoff drags on, LIN TV has formed and marketing and promotional partnership with DISH Network to encourage consumers to switch to DISH.
LIN TV recently reached a retransmission agreement with Comcast, the largest cable operator, as well as a number of other operators. Although terms were not disclosed, LIN reported that its retransmission consent fees increased 122 percent in second quarter this year.