Look out, here comes another one. Retransmission talks between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) have reached the point where it's possible that Sinclair will shut down service for 33 stations it delivers in TWC and partner Bright House Networks franchise areas starting at the stroke of midnight New Year's Eve. The stations cross the broadcast gamut from Fox, ABC, MyTV, the CW, CBS to NBC, so it's likely that as the ball falls in Times Square the guillotine will fall on its broadcast in some TWC or Bright House household.
Sinclair, on an informational website, is already preparing viewers for the worst because, it says, "it appears Time Warner is not interested in reaching agreement on a renewal (and) has expressed a strong interest in having the government change the rules in order to have them in these negotiations."
The dispute, the stations group said, is not about "greed," it's "about determining the price another company should pay to acquire a product for resale to the public." Whether that company then passes along those costs to the end consumer--as has been the case in nearly every retransmission dispute--"is a question for Time Warner Cable to answer," the Sinclair site said.
So what makes it seem that this fight is going to turn nasty really fast? Sinclair's posits that Time Warner could "choose just to reduce the large profit they make" to pay the higher retransmission costs without passing them along to consumers.
- see Sinclair's website
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