TWC bemoans retrans as Media General demands 200% increase

Editor | 02-01-2013

As Media General becomes the latest company with who it is engages in a retrans row,Time Warner Cable (TWC) is calling for a major overhaul of the current TV pricing system.

The leading US cable MSO says that Media General, a provider of news, information and entertainment primarily serving markets in the South Eastern US, is demanding a 200% increase in transmission fees to carry the same signals that TWC says are available for free to air (FTA) and, noted Director, Digital Communications, Jeff Simmermon, a great deal of the programming that draws Media General viewers is available for free online, too.

Somewhat ruefully, the exec added: “With each New Year’s Eve comes a series of unfortunate negotiations related to retransmission consent disagreements. It’s like global warming: something we all wish would go away, but probably isn’t going to without a major overhaul of the current system. This argument cuts deep, down to the nature of publishing and TV online: you can’t charge more for something with one hand while giving it away with the other. The TV business is in an awkward transition state, and we’re figuring out the future of television one deal at a time.”

Simmermon insisted that TWC was working to negotiate a new agreement that allows for what he called “reasonable” rate increases without any blackout, a phenomenon that afflicted the industry throughout 2012.