Face-to-face talks fail to resolve dispute between Time Warner Cable, KMIR-6 owner

September 5th, 2013 | by Matt Solinsky | Comments

Are you ready for some football?

Everyone was Thursday night except Time Warner Cable subscribers in the Coachella Valley who were shut out from watching the NFL’s season-opening game between the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos on NBC.

A dispute between Journal Broadcast Group, the parent company of local NBC affiliate KMIR-6, and Time Warner Cable stretched past the six-week mark Thursday and kept the NFL opener from the majority of television screens in the Coachella Valley.

Journal Broadcast pulled its NBC affiliates from Time Warner Cable systems in Palm Springs, Milwaukee and Green Bay on July 25 in a retransmission-consent dispute. A Journal-owned CBS station in Omaha, Neb., also is affected.

Many media experts had expected the fee dispute to be settled in time for the start of the NFL season. Negotiations continued this week, including face-to-face discussions, but no agreement was reached in time for Thursday night’s game.

“Negotiations are ongoing and active. We hope to reach a fair agreement on behalf of our customers,” said Time Warner Cable spokesman Dennis Johnson.

According to a statement from Journal Broadcast on Thursday night: “Journal Broadcast Group and Time Warner Cable met face-to-face this week in an effort to resolve the retransmission consent dispute. While both sides exchanged offers, the meetings did not result in an agreement to return the Journal stations to the Time Warner line-up in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Palm Springs, and Omaha.  We will continue to work toward an agreement so that the Time Warner Cable viewers will once again be able to see the quality local news, entertainment and information-based programming on our stations.”

Time Warner Cable, which settled a similar month-long dispute with CBS-owned stations in several major markets on Monday, said early in the dispute that Journal Broadcast sought a 200 percent hike in fees for the retransmission of its stations’ signals.

Meanwhile, Journal Communications shareholders have been hit hard since the dispute started. Shares of the company have fallen nearly 22 percent since the blackout began in July, falling from $9.32 to Thursday’s close of $7.24. By comparison, the S&P has lost 2.1 percent during that same period. Time Warner Cable shares have fallen 7 percent since the blackout, dropping from $117.22 to $108.90 at the close Thursday.


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