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Tribune blames Cablevision for signals coming down

August 17, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Cablevision has stopped carrying Tribune stations including WPIX-TV New York, which has Mets baseball.
Cablevision has stopped carrying Tribune stations including WPIX-TV… (Associated Press )

Tribune Co. said Cablevision Systems Corp. is to blame for its channels coming off of the pay-TV distributor's systems in the New York City area and Colorado.

In a statement, Tribune said it was willing to allow Cablevision to continue carrying its stations -- including WPIX-TV New York, WPHL-TV Philadelphia and the cable channel WGN -- while the two sides continued to try to hammer out a new distribution deal. The signals, Tribune said, were pulled in the middle of negotiations "without warning."

In a letter to Cablevision from Tribune that was released Friday to the media, the Chicago-based media company said that "to give the parties additional time for good-faith negotiations to reach a long-term agreement," it would extend the current agreement one week, to Aug. 24.

At issue is money that Tribune is seeking from Cablevision in return for carrying its signals. Cablevision has said Tribune is "demanding tens of millions in new fees." Tribune countered that "what we have proposed amounts to less than a penny a day per subscriber."

Another wrinkle is that Cablevision is still carrying Tribune-owned WTIC-TV Hartford against the wishes of the broadcaster.

Cablevision says that it has an agreement to carry WTIC and that Tribune is trying to tie carriage of that station with distribution of its other stations. Tribune countered that it has always negotiated package deals for its stations and that this situation is no exception.

The signals for the Tribune stations were pulled down from Cablevison systems early Friday. Cablevision has 3 million subscribers, primarily in the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It also owns systems in Colorado, where Tribune owns KWGN-TV Denver.

Tribune is the parent company of the Los Angeles Times.


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