Time Warner Cable contract dispute may rob subscribers of broadcast networks
Time Warner Cable subscribers throughout the east coast could find themselves without access to the major broadcast networks come Jan. 1. According to an Associated Press report, Sinclair Broadcast Group is asking that the cable provider — which is no longer affiliated with Time Warner, EW’s parent company — pay a larger amount for the right to carry signals from 33 of its stations in 21 markets, including affiliates of all four networks. If the two conglomerates cannot resolve the dispute by January 1, those stations could go dark — although News Corp., which owns the Fox network, has already said that it will provide programming for Time Warner subscribers if local affiliates do get pulled from the airwaves. (In October, Cablevision customers in the New York area suddenly found their TV sets Fox-free after the cable company and the network failed to close a new carriage deal.) Time Warner Cable has said that it is still prepared to negotiate; according to Sinclair, the cable giant has not submitted a counteroffer since rejecting Sinclair’s last proposal.