It’s New Year’s Eve in the TV business, and with each New Year’s Eve comes a series of unfortunate negotiations related to retransmission consent disagreements. It’s like global warming: something we all wish would go away, but probably isn’t going to without a major overhaul of the current system.
I’ve been through pretty much every iteration and incarnation of these things over the past few years, and it’s getting to the point where this is both unpleasant and boring. Like the kind of checkup where you’re probably fine, but the doctor definitely puts on a rubber glove to make sure.
In this case, we’re in negotiations with Media General regarding a 200% increase in the fees that we pay to carry the same signals that are available for free over the air. A great deal of the programming that draws Media General viewers is available for free online, too. In addition to nearly all of the network primetime programming available online for free, TWC digital customers will have access to NBC Primetime On Demand programming. Furthermore, the NFL Wildcard playoff games and the Super Bowl will be available for free online.
This argument cuts deep, down to the nature of publishing and TV online: you can’t charge more for something with one hand while giving it away with the other. The TV business is in an awkward transition state, and we’re figuring out the future of television one deal at a time.
We’re working hard to negotiate a new agreement that allows for reasonable rate increases without any blackout. This is good for business and it’s good for our customers, too.
To follow this issue more closely and get more up-to-the-minute updates, visit our site at TWCConversations.com.