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Sinclair-Time Warner Cable Reach Non-Aggression Pact; No More Boorish Screen Crawls

Phillip Dampier January 17, 2011 Consumer News 2 Comments

Hours before a two-week extension on contract talks was set to expire, Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcasting announced they had a deal to avert the loss of dozens of Sinclair-owned stations on Time Warner Cable.

No terms were disclosed, but industry watchers predicted Sinclair held the weaker hand and probably made some concessions to the cable company, especially on issues related to Time Warner’s focus on expanding cable programming to portable devices and allowing more shows to be “started over” or made available on-demand.

The length of the new agreement was also not disclosed, but many believe a 12-24 month extension was likely.

Time Warner Cable also negotiates programming deals on behalf of Bright House Networks, and a separate, similar agreement was anticipated to be reached sometime this week.

Despite hours of threatening video crawls on several Sinclair-owned stations and full page ads purchased in local newspapers by the cable company, no programming was ultimately impacted by the threatened blackout.

This most recent retransmission consent battle could be among the last if the Federal Communications Commission manages to write new rules to keep customers out of the middle of such disputes.

The FCC plans to consider drafting reforms to current regulations as early as next month.  The Commission seems to be leaning towards the cable, satellite, and phone companies’ view that would leave stations and networks on the cable dial while negotiations are underway, preventing the kinds of blackouts that left suburban New York Cablevision subscribers without access to Fox programming for two weeks in 2010.

Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. Elise Hines says:

    I am proud to say that I cut the cord and no longer subscribe to Time Warner Cable. The ads are puerile, and were one of the reasons I canceled my cable. I have no regrets. TiVo, a HD antenna, Netflix, TiVo, and Amazon on Demand have me completely covered for a fraction of the cost of cable.

  2. Ben says:

    Do you still have Roadrunner service? If so, then you didn’t actually cut the cable.

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