NEW YORK - Time Warner Cable customers will lose TV networks, public access picks up slack.
Time Warner Cable Inc. customers all along the eastern seaboard will lose access to several of their network TV stations because of contract disputes with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
These disputes are over the fees that are paid to broadcast stations from cable providers such as Time Warner. These clashes have become increasingly more common as businesses cut ad budgets in order to stay out of the red. This has caused the source of revenue from ads to diminish for many networks requiring them to rely more heavily on the fees from cable providers to help foot their bills.
The most recent dispute was earlier this year when millions of Cablevision Systems Corp. customers were unable to view Fox programming for over two weeks – missing two World Series games.
33 Sinclair stations in 21 regions – among them Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates – will soon be looking like they used to back in the day at 3am with multi-colored vertical bars and an annoying high pitch squeal that never ends until the national anthem plays the next morning.
Fox owner News Corp. has agreed to supply Time Warner with network programming in the event that any local station operators withhold their signals. This comes as a result from an agreement made with Time Warner to prevent another Cablevision type catastrophe.
So Time Warner customers will still get shows such as “Glee,” “House” and “The Simpsons,” even if they cannot watch their local Fox newscasts. However, viewers are still concerned about missing their favorite newscasters as many tend to develop semi-personal relationships with the news teams.
“I don’t know what I would do without Lisa Evers and her extraordinarily brilliant reporting style,” said Susan Winters of Middle Village Queens, “Lisa is like a sister to me.”
In an attempt to gain viewers, some New York City public access channels intend to beef up their programming with off-brand shows like, “Contemporary Family”, “Cartilage” and “Justice and Orderliness: Extraordinary Injured Parties Division”, which are strikingly similar to their brand name counterparts, Modern Family, Bones, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
These disputes however are toughest on sports fans. If Sinclair and Time Warner cannot kiss and make up by this weekend, college football fans in Pensacola may not have the opportunity to see the ABC broadcast of the Florida Gators playing in the Outback Steakhouse Bowl.
However, a local Pensacola public access channel has a plan to combat this potential disaster. The station plans to perform play by play reenactments of the Outback Steakhouse Bowl this weekend should the deal fall flat. They also plan to have a halftime show where the crew has a Bloomin’ Onion eating contest where the winner walks away with an awesome trophy, bragging rights, wicked heartburn and potentially an all expenses paid trip to the ER.