The retransmission agreements between New Young Broadcasting and Time Warner Cable (TWC) for Young’s ABC affiliate stations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Albany, New York expired Wednesday night, February 29. At the eleventh hour, the two sides were not able to come to terms. Rather than force a black-out as has often been the case in such disputes, however, they reset the clock for one week later: March 7.
The stations are not ruling out a black-out in the future. In a company statement, they told viewers that “in the event that we are not able to reach an agreement with Time Warner, you can continue to receive the broadcasts of WBAY-TV by way of our free over the air broadcast transmission.” They also recommend DirecTV and DISH Network satellite services as an alternative source for their content.
It’s good to see that the broadcaster has exhibited some restraint in these negotiations, but it’s clear that it still waves the big black-out stick. Consumers are continuing to be held hostage as the various parties try to find ways to shore up their dwindling revenues, and it seems that everyone loses in the end.