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LIN, Charter at Odds on Retrans

LIN TV announced that negotiations with cable operator Charter Communications over airing LIN’s broadcast signal hit a snag, and the TV-station owner believes the two parties “appear unlikely to result in a retransmission-consent agreement. As a result, LIN expects Charter to discontinue carriage of its television stations when the current contract expires June 30.”

A total of 11 LIN stations are carried by Charter in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Green Bay, Wis.; Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; Springfield, Mass.; Dayton and Toledo, Ohio; and Providence, R.I.

A Charter spokesperson classified the negotiations as “active” and said the cable company did not intend to discontinue the LIN signal.

“Charter successfully negotiates retransmission agreements with our broadcast partners on a regular basis, and we will work to do so with LIN TV,” Charter said in a statement. “Charter is focused on providing value to our customers and we negotiate with their best interests in mind. We want to assure our customers that it is not Charter’s intention to discontinue carrying these stations on our lineup.”

“Most cable operators, like their satellite and telephony competitors, now understand and acknowledge that fair and equitable compensation is essential to ensure the viability of our local outlets, which are such a big part of the value they provide to consumers,” LIN executive vice president of digital media Gregory M. Schmidt said.

“This is an evolving marketplace with a lot of background noise, so reaching an agreement can sometimes be difficult,” he added. “We will continue to work hard with Charter in hopes of reaching a deal with them soon.”

LIN suggested that potentially affected viewers watch with the help of an antenna or by switching to satellite service Dish Network, which LIN is partnering with to offer $50 incentives to new subscribers in Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Hartford-New Haven and LIN’s home market of Providence.

LIN worked out “a fair market agreement” with cable operator Suddenlink Communications over retransmission consent in March.