This dispute doesn’t have the titan-vs-titan glamour of Time Warner Cable‘s fight with CBS — where negotiators gave themselves until Monday to agree on retransmission consent terms. But it’s important to a little more than 500,000 Time Warner Cable customers who today find themselves without Journal Communications‘ NBC programming in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Palm Springs; and CBS in Omaha. (TWC systems lost MyNetworkTV in Green Bay and Palm Springs on July 10; the larger stations are covered by an FCC rule that bars pay TV providers from dropping major outlets during a sweeps month.) The companies warned last month that a blackout could take place. The debate revolves around positions that are familiar to anyone who follows retransmission consent impasses. Time Warner Cable says that it is taking a stand against “unreasonable fee increases because we don’t think it’s fair for customers to pay such a huge increase for programming that is delivered for free via an antenna, and online.” And the broadcaster says that TWC “actually sends less than 1% of what you pay each month to Journal Broadcast Group. Ask Time Warner Cable to explain where the other 99% of your monthly payment goes.” The cable company accounts for about 22% of Journal Communications’ viewers, according to SNL Kagan.
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