Tribune, Time Warner Cable Reach Retransmission Deal

Time Warner Cable and Tribune Co. said Sunday they reached a multi-year distribution agreement days before the end of the year.

The companies said the new deal includes multi-year retransmission agreements for the stations Tribune currently owns, as well as those it is in the process of acquiring from Local TV Holdings.

The deal also covers continued distribution of Tribune’s cable superstation, WGN America.

Tribune has been one of several major broadcasters that have been snapping up stations, partly because of the expectation that retransmission payments will continue to rise, buttressing station revenue.

Amping up sleepy WGN America is also a key part of Tribune’s TV strategy. The company has been in the process of developing original programming for the channel.

Time Warner Cable suffered a black eye during a month-long retransmission dispute with CBS. When the smoke cleared, CBS got a significant increase in fees and Tribune lost about 300,000 subscribers. Despite that, TWC’s stock has been on the rise because the MSO is in the middle of takeover talk started by John Malone, who controls Liberty Media and Charter Communications.

Tribune owns stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego and Indianapolis that are covered by the new deal with TW Cable. It is acquiring stations in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Greensboro.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.