Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and the Tribune Co. agreed to a new multiyear retransmission agreement affecting broadcast television stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, and Indianapolis, according to a joint press release. The new agreement includes Tribune Co.’s expanded station portfolio, which reaches areas farther afield and will soon include local television holdings stations in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Kansas City.
Time Warner Cable is one of the largest cable operators in the United States, providing video, high-speed data and voice services to more than 15 million customers. Tribune Co. is a multimedia corporation based in Chicago that owns and operates more than 23 television stations throughout the country.
Tribune is also the second largest newspaper publisher, behind Gannett Co., and owns publications throughout the country including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel, and Hartford Courant.
The recent deal also covers Tribune’s WGN America, which will continue to be distributed by Time Warner.
Retransmission consent was first introduced in the United States in 1992 and requires that cable operators obtain permission from broadcast stations before they can retransmit the stations’ signals to their customers. As a result, agreements are made between broadcasters and operators, with broadcasters generally asking operators to pay cash to carry their station and programming.
Retransmission consent, which is a provision of the U.S. Cable Television Protection and Competition Act, has received ongoing criticism since its introduction, with small cable operators in particular voicing their objections to the provision, as they are often charged an exorbitantly high amount to retransmit programming compared to larger cable operators.
One of the goals of the legislation was originally to bolster local broadcasting networks and encourage a diversity of views and information, as well as to prevent cable operators from holding too much power over the market.