LIN TV and Charter cable fail to reach retransmission agreement

LIN TV announced last week that retransmission negotiations with Charter Communications, the cable operator, have been “unsuccessful.” As a result, the broadcast group expects Charter to discontinue carriage of its television stations when the current contract expires on June 30, 2008.

Eleven LIN TV-owned and/or operated local stations are currently carried by Charter in the following markets: Grand Rapids; Green Bay; Hartford-New Haven; Springfield, MA; Dayton; Providence and Toledo.

The company said it is in the process of seeking compensation for carriage from cable companies on terms that are comparable to those given cable networks. A Charter spokesperson said his company is actively negotiating with LIN TV and does not plan to discontinue the signals.

“This is an evolving marketplace with a lot of background noise so reaching an agreement can sometimes be difficult,” said Gregory M. Schmidt, LIN TV’s executive vice president for digital media. ”We will continue to work hard with Charter in hopes of reaching a deal with them soon.”

In the event that LIN TV's signals are pulled, viewers may continue to watch the stations through alternative means, such as an antenna or by switching to a satellite service like DIRECTV or DISH Network, LIN said.

Last week LIN TV and DIRECTV announced an agreement for the retransmission of LIN TV's broadcast stations in both analog and high-definition. The deal covers television stations owned and/or operated by LIN TV in 15 markets.

In March, 2008, LIN TV and the DISH Network announced a similar marketing and promotional agreement to encourage consumers to switch to the DISH Network if a LIN TV local station signal has the potential to become unavailable or is removed from a cable system.