Lin, Dish Reach HD Carriage Agreement

Lin TV struck another salvo for its negotiating position with cable companies, reaching an agreement with Dish Network for HD carriage of 17 of its channels, mostly in the Midwest.

The Providence, R.I.-based broadcaster is also in negotiations with DirecTV for HD carriage, said Gregory M. Schmidt, Lin executive vice president of digital media.

Lin-Dish carriage agreements have previously involved only the broadcaster’s standard-definition signals.

The two continued their alliance to pressure cable operators, announcing a marketing agreement to encourage consumers to switch to Dish should Lin’s local stations be removed from cable. The two will also join in a DTV campaign, including promotion of a $39.95 digital-to-analog converter box that can be purchased using the $40 government coupon for over-the-air DTV receivers.

Schmidt described the current HD cable carriage situation for Lin as a patchwork. The company has long-term HD carriage agreements with Cox, AT&T, Verizon and some small operators, but not with Comcast, Time Warner or Charter.

“I think it’s pretty clear in this new world that local HD is becoming a pretty important product for any multichannel operator to provide,” he said.

The Dish agreement covers KAKA and KRQE (Albuquerque), KXAN and KNVA (Austin, Texas), WIVB and WNLA (Buffalo, N.Y.), WWHO (Columbus, Ohio), WDTN (Dayton, Ohio), WANE (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), WOOD and WOTV (Grand Rapids, Mich.), WLUK (Green Bay, Wis.), WTNH and WCTX (Hartford/New Haven, Conn.), WISH and WNDY (Indianapolis), WLFI (Lafayette, La.), WALA and WBPG (Mobile, Ala.), WAVY and WVBT (Norfolk, Va.), WPRI and WNAV (Providence), WWLP (Springfield, Mass.), WTHI (Terre Haute, Ind.) and WUPW (Toledo, Ohio)

Lin reached 16 retrans agreements in the fourth quarter of 2007.