New Haven resident will not have access to ABC if two broadcast companies cannot come to an agreement today.
After several weeks of negotiation, DISH Network, LLC, and LIN Media have yet to reach an agreement to extend their multi-year contract ending on Friday, March 4. LIN Media provides the local broadcasting that brings ABC to New Haven residences with DISH Network. If the two companies’ disagreement over pay rates is not resolved, many cable subscribers in the New Haven area will be deprived access to ABC. Comcast provides Yale’s cable, so students will not be affected if the contract is not renewed. LIN Media produces television programming and supplies it to broadcast service providers like DISH which delivers it to viewers.
“Contracts expire and renew all the time, but an overwhelming amount of time, negotiations are successful without disruption to viewers,” said Courtney Guertin, Corporate Communications manager for LIN.
Guertin said the companies want to finalize negotiations before the contract expires.
Though DISH has promised not to remove the channel signal, TV viewers in New Haven homes will not have access to ABC and MyNetwork TV if LIN Media cuts their channel, said Marc Lumpkin, a spokesman for DISH.
Lumpkin said that DISH negotiates with more than 1,000 TV stations across the country and that the rate LIN is demanding is far beyond what DISH pays other similar broadcasters.
He added that the 140 percent rate increase that LIN media demanded was unreasonable.
But Guertin said LIN wants fair treatment and fair value for local TV, explaining that his company is asking for rates that are a fraction of those paid to larger cable television networks with some channels that viewers never watch.
Lumpkin said that larger cable broadcasters, like ESPN, are paid more because they have more viewers than local television and a higher Nielson rating, which measures audience size and composition.
Guertin said if no agreement is met, DISH cannot carry LIN’s stations by law. “[DISH] needs a contract to rebroadcast,” Guertin said. With no agreement, New Haven residents relying on DISH will not have access to the two local cable stations.
Though ABC and MyNetwork TV will no longer be provided through DISH, New Haven viewers have other options for paid TV providers, including Comcast, which Yale uses.
“It’s not the case that if the stations come off DISH, they come off the air,” Guertin said.
Both companies cannot reveal the exact figures until the negotiations are finalized.
As a consequence of DISH’s negotiation problems, the Federal Communications Commission approved new rules regarding television stations’ contracts with broadcast providers on Thursday.
If negotiations fall through, the 27 television stations in 14 states owned, operated, or serviced by LIN Media would be affected.