Time Warner Claims Fox Hijacked Retrans Process

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

In the latest twist in the retransmission consent saga, Time Warner Cable claims that Fox “has brazenly sought to hijack the retransmission consent process” by inserting itself into its affiliates’ retrans negotiations, in a Dec. 8 FCC filing in support of Mediacom Communication‘s retrans consent complaint about Sinclair.

The filing comes as TWC, the nation’s second-largest cable operator, is in the throes of a negotiation with News Corp. over carriage agreements for Fox-owned stations, cable networks and regional sports networks that expire Dec. 31. Fox is widely understood to be pursuing cash – a dollar per sub, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal — as part of Time Warner Cable’s compensation for Fox’s O&Os.

TWC announced Dec. 7 that it had agreed to a one-year extension of its carriage agreement with Sinclair, which has several Fox affiliates among other affiliate stations in TWC markets. That deal also was up at the end of the year. TWC’s filing essentially claims their deal with Sinclair was controlled by Fox, in violation of the FCC’s good faith bargaining requirement in retrans negotiations. More…