Retransmission deals increasing; broadcasters avoiding loss of carriage

As the February 2009 mandate for the shutoff of analog nears, retransmission agreements have become critical to broadcasters’ continued success. Loss of carriage on pay-TV services means fewer eyeballs and reduced ad revenue.

Among the most recent (and highly contentious) deals, Charter Communications has signed a retransmission deal with LIN TV. This means the cable operator will continue to carry 11 LIN stations in seven markets without interruption.

The companies’ previous deal was set to expire June 30, and LIN had warned its viewers the cable operator might drop the channels. Under terms of the new agreement, Charter will continue to carry the local broadcast signals in Grand Rapids, MI; Green Bay, WI; New Haven, CN; Springfield, MA; Dayton and Toledo, OH; and Providence, RI.

Meanwhile, Tribune has signed a deal with the Dish satellite network to carry the high-definition version of WGN America, the cable network from WGN, as well as the HD signals of the group’s 23 stations in 19 markets.