In Court TV’s second such dispute this year, the network has been dropped by Cable One over the license-fee increase the programmer is seeking.
The Phoenix-based cable company took Court TV, now wholly owned by Turner Broadcasting System, off its lineup April 1. The cable operator’s carriage deal with Court TV expired March 31.
Unlike most cable companies, Cable One had offered Court TV as part of its digital package, not on expanded basic. Roughly 20% of Cable One’s 720,000 subscribers are digital customers, according to director of communications Melany Stroupe. That means Court TV had been in roughly 140,000 of the operator’s homes.
“It only affects a small percentage of our customers,” she said last week.
As a result of the dispute, Turner also told Cable One that it can no longer carry TNT HD, according to Stroupe.
“It was kind of an all-or-nothing deal,” she said. “We certainly want to keep TNT HD, but they pulled it.”
As to the situation with the operator, a Turner spokesperson said: “Despite prolonged discussions, we unfortunately could not reach an agreement with Cable One for continued carriage of Court TV and TNT in HD. As of April 1, these networks are no longer available to Cable One customers. We remain hopeful that we will reach a resolution, but in the meantime, these popular Turner networks are available via a number of providers.”
Earlier this year, EchoStar Communications’ Dish Network dropped Court TV briefly over the same issue as Cable One: a license-fee increase.
“It’s a contract dispute,” Stroupe said. “Court TV was asking for, when they were purchased by Turner, a 300% rate increase, which would make it twice as expensive as any of the other channels we carry on our digital tier. So we just couldn’t come to an agreement with them.”
Dish Network resumed carrying Court TV after about a month, but reinstated in on a less widely penetrated tier.
Cable One added two new digital channels, GSN and WE, just over a month ago, Stroupe said. But the cable company would like to find a specific replacement for Court TV, she added.
“We want to continue looking for a replacement, if it’s possible,” Stroupe said. Cable One was replacing TNT HD with ESPN2 HD, she added.
There have been some calls about Court TV’s absence, “but it really hasn’t been overwhelming,” according to Stroupe.
“Turner is our partner, and we certainly don’t want to get into an ugly war with them,” she said. “We still carry a majority of their products. We still value them as a business partner.”
But Stroupe doesn’t expect the dispute with Court TV to be resolved.
“We can’t seem to come to an agreement or middle ground, so we’re not hopeful,” she said.
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