/// Tribune and Cablevision Fight It Out Over Retrans at WPIX

August 17, 2012  |  Media Week

Another day, another battle in the retrans war . Cablevision subscribers in New York woke up this morning to find that CW flagship station WPIX had gone dark overnight as negotiations between Cablevision and station owner Tribune stalled out. Mets fans are going to be upset about this one: the team plays on Saturday and Sunday. But with a 56-62 record thus far, not being able to see the games might not be a bad thing. WPIX has the dubious distinction of being the largest flagship network that is not owned and operated by its affiliate broadcast network. It's joined in the blackout by Philadelphia's WPHL, currently affiliated with News Corp's MyNetworkTV, as well as WCCT in Connecticut and KWGN in Denver (both CW affiliates). As always, the fight centers on retransmission consent—permission granted by broadcast stations to cable operators who want to retransmit those stations' over-the-air signals through their cable packages. Tribune wants to start charging for the privilege (as many of its peers do); Cablevision is balking . And, also as usual, both sides issued angry press releases lambasting the other for unfairness to consumers. “Tribune was willing to provide Cablevision subscribers access to the valuable programming on these stations while working toward a new agreement,” said the station owner in a statement. “Tribune makes a substantial annual investment in local news, live sports and high-quality entertainment programming. Cablevision has never compensated Tribune for the retransmission of its local stations, which are among the most highly watched channels on Cablevision's lineups.”

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