The pay TV industry is using an isolated blackout of a CBS affiliate on a small South Carolina cable operator as the latest battleground in their quest to slow rising broadcast retransmission fee growth.
According to Hory County, South Carolina, operator HTC, Nexstar has threatened to pull CBS affiliate WBTW-TV, along with its MyNetworkTV component, off the cable company’s video service on Saturday if a new retransmission deal isn’t carved out.
This brought out the big rhetorical guns of the American Television Alliance, with the org spokesman putting out a statement yesterday urging Nexstar to “return to the negotiating table and come to a reasonable agreement that doesn’t gouge customers.”
Duffy added that, “In the long term, we need Congress and the FCC to fix this, because broadcaster blackouts are at record highs and TV customers are being exploited.”
In its own rhetoric, HTC noted Kagan statistics predicting that retransmission costs will spike to $11.6 billion by 2022.
“HTC is committed to signing deals for the programming our members want at fair monthly fees and to avoid a situation where corporate broadcasters temporarily remove popular programs,” said HTC Marketing Supervisor Sandy Hendrick in a statement. “We negotiate in good faith, but when these large corporate media groups, Nexstar, ask for increases of over 100% over the current rates without justification, it makes the process more difficult.”
For its part, Nexstar said it won’t comment on an ongoing negotiation.