Things aren't looking up for contract negotiations between Media General and Time Warner Cable. If the two parties do not reach a deal by midnight tonight, when the current contract expires, Time Warner Cable subscribers will not receive a signal from WNCN, more commonly known as NBC-17. (WRAL is in the middle of a similar dispute with DirecTV, and their contract also expires tonight at midnight.) Time Warner Cable says Media General is seeking a 200 percent fee increase, which they believe is unfair. NBC-17's management insists the increase reflects a "fair market value" for their content.
Below is the full statement just released by Time Warner Cable:
Negotiations are ongoing with Media General, but it is possible Media General will pull its signals tonight unless we agree to a 200-percent increase in the fees we pay to carry those signals. Locally that would include WNCN-TV (NBC 17). Given that all of its programming is available for FREE over the air, and a great deal of it is available for FREE online, we don’t believe it’s in ours or our customers’ best interests to agree to such an outrageous fee increase.
The networks even recently announced that NBC’s NFL Wild Card playoff games and CBS’ Super Bowl telecast would be available online for free. Nevertheless, we’re working hard to negotiate a new deal and we are fully committed to reaching an agreement at reasonable rate increases without any blackout.
Fortunately, even if Media General blacks out its signals tonight, Time Warner Cable customers will still have several ways to view the programming that is important to them: We have made arrangements for most customers, on a temporary basis, to continue to provide NBC network programming by bringing in another NBC station on channel 6, 117 and 1117 on our local lineup.
Also, Time Warner Cable Digital TV customers will still have access to NBC Primetime on Demand programming. And a lot of programming is already available for free online, including the two NFL Wild Card playoff games on NBC next weekend.
Finally, WNCN-TV (NBC-17) remains available for free over the air with an antenna. Customers can visit www.twcconversations.com to learn more.