Time Warner Cable, Journal Broadcast Finally End Retrans Disconnect

MSO Restores Six Stations in Three States

Just a couple of days short of a full two-month blackout, Time Warner Cable and Journal Broadcast Group finally reached a new retransmission-consent agreement.

Reached on Friday evening, the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, will restore six Journal Broadcast stations in Wisconsin, California and Nebraska to Time Warner Cable systems over the next day. Journal Broadcast pulled the stations’ signals on July 25 after the parties could not come to terms on a value for their transmission. The MSO had said that Journal Broadcast was seeking a 200% hike, while the media company put the increase at what amounts to pennies per day.

The nation’s No. 2  cable operator ended a month-long blackout with CBS stations and cable network Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian Channel on Sept. 2.

Under the new pact, Time Warner Cable will restore Journal Broadcast’s WTMJ (NBC) – channel 2 in Milwaukee (except channel 83 in Kenosha/Racine/Plymouth, Wisc.) and HD channel 1004; Green Bay: WGBA (NBC) – channel 13 (except channel 10 in Marinette and channel 14 in Cleveland, Wisc.) and HD channel 1007 (except channel 1014 in Cleveland, Wisc.) and WACY (MyNetwork TV)– channel 83;  Palm Springs: KMIR (NBC) – channel 13 and HD channel 606 and KPSE (MyNetwork TV) – channel 20; and  Omaha: KMTV (CBS) – channel 99 and HD channel 1003.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and loyalty throughout the dispute,” said Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president of content acquisition for Time Warner Cable in a statement. “As in all of our negotiations, we aim to hold down programming costs and retain our ability to deliver a great video experience for our customers.  We are glad that we were able to achieve both.”

Journal Broadcast executives didn’t respond to requests for comment by presstime.

However in an online article in the Journal Sentinel, which like Journal Broadcast is owned  by Journal Communications, Steve Wexler, executive vice president of radio and TV for Journal Broadcast Group, said that “we asked for fair market value, which is what we ended up getting.”

Journal Broadcast Group also said it “retains control of ‘TV Everywhere’ rights for live network program streaming to smartphones, tablets and computers.”

The contract runs through at least 2016, as Journal Broadcast noted the next two Olympic Games -- in Sochi, Russia next February and in Brazil in 2016 -- will be available on NBC outlets under the deal.

Through the process, Journal Broadcast’s WTMJ in Milwaukee lost its channel 4 location, a spot it has held since 1953, as the MSO sold the standard-definition position to Game Show Network.