Retransmission disputes are a 'volcano' waiting to erupt

Those who think that the public is sitting in easy chairs watching with disinterest as retransmission disputes between broadcasters and multichannel service providers determine what they can and can't watch--and when--are mistaken.

An increasing air of cynicism tinged with anger is creeping into such brouhahas as the ongoing Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI)-Sinclair Broadcast Group cage match that's promising to end yet another round at midnight tonight if a new retrans agreement isn't reached. "It would be refreshing if either party told us honestly that good old-fashioned greed is at the heart of the issue," Buffalo Business First presentation editor Gary Burns wrote.

Retrans has become "a volcano that has the potential to erupt every three years," according to Mary Collins, president-CEO of the Media Financial Management Association and a columnist with broadcast-centric TVNewsCheck. Collins' hope is that the two industries--or at least their warring parties--can commit to a "collaborative engagement" to resolve these issues "to quell that smoking volcano and to prevent the type of contentious battles that erupt into a lava flow that can ultimately destroy the businesses."

For more:
- Buffalo Business First has this story
- and see this TVNewsCheck column

Related articles:
Sinclair extends Fox affiliation as Time Warner Cable talks drag on
Time Warner Cable, Sinclair Broadcast Group extend talks by two weeks
Sinclair re-ups with ABC; will charge cable more; Hulu at crossroads

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