New Retrans Spat Looms for Time Warner in San Antonio

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The retransmission-consent standoff between Time Warner Cable and LIN TV Friday entered its second week, and a new one is looming for the cable operator and a Post-Newsweek TV station in San Antonio, Texas.

The nation’s second largest cable operator and LIN TV were still negotiating, but had yet to reach a new retransmission-consent deal. Still, 15 LIN TV stations remain black on cable in 11 markets on the East Coast and Midwest.

In addition, Time Warner and ABC affiliate KSAT-TV, owned by Post-Newsweek Stations, have a retransmission-consent extension that expires at midnight Oct. 15. KSAT-TV is warning Time Warner subscribers, through screen crawls and its Web site, that the station could be dropped in that market.

Negotiations in San Antonio are continuing.

“We’re hopeful on KSAT,” said Time Warner Cable vice president of public relations Alex Dudley.

On its Web site, KSAT-TV said “7 Days Left,” and noted that LIN’s Austin, Texas, station, KXAN-TV, was off cable because of Time Warner’s retransmission-consent dispute with LIN TV.

“Time Warner keep saying they have no intention of losing KSAT 12 on their cable system” KSAT-TV says on its Web site. “But here is what just happened in Austin.”

On Oct. 3, when their last deal expired, LIN TV pulled its stations off Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks systems in Austin, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Green Bay, Wis.; Indianapolis; Mobile, Ala.; Springfield, Mass.; Terre Haute, Ind. and Toledo, Ohio.

Time Warner says 1.5 million of its subscribers are affected, while Bright House has 106,000 customers impacted in Indianapolis.

LIN TV is seeking a 30 cent, per month, per subscriber license fee for it stations. Time Warner Cable says it doesn’t want to pay for broadcast signals that are available for free over the air. KSAT-TV is also seeking cash from Time Warner. Officials from KSAT-TV and Post-Newsweek couldn’t be reached for comment Friday,

Time Warner has retransmission–consent negotiations looming with other broadcasters, most notably Spanish-language Univision. Time Warner told The Wall Street Journal in a story Friday that under contract provisions it has the right to carry Univision’s network programming until the end of next year. According to Wall Street analysts, Time Warner is negotiating retransmission-consent deals with local Univision TV stations this year.

“If we don’t reach a retrans deal, we still have rights to the network programming, and we would just slide the network programming into any slots left open by the local,” Dudley said.

That’s what Bright House is doing in Indianapolis, where it lost carriage of LIN’s WIIH-TV, a Univision affiliate. Bright House is carrying a satellite feed of Univision programming in WIIH-TV’s channel slot.

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