Originally Posted by multichannel.com
Time Warner Cable's new retransmission-consent deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group includes carriage of the analog and digital signals of 35 TV stations owned or operated by the broadcaster in 22 markets, Sinclair said in a press release Monday.
The cable operator and Sinclair finalized a new retransmission-consent pact Friday just hours before an extension of their old agreement was set to expire.
The new retransmission-consent deal expires Dec. 31, 2009, according to Sinclair. And the pact marks the first time Time Warner has agreed to carry Sinclair's digital signals to most of its customers, according to the TV-station owner.
The broadcaster is still embroiled in a retransmission-consent dispute with Mediacom Communications, and it pulled the signals for 22 of its stations from that midsized cable operator Jan. 6, impacting 700,000 subscribers.
In its press release Monday, Sinclair said the TV stations covered by the new Time Warner agreement reach about 6 million Time Warner customers, many of whom receive two stations owned and/or operated by Sinclair.
Time Warner spokeswoman Maureen Huff has previously said that the expired Sinclair retransmission-consent affected just 1 million subscribers. Time Warner couldn't be reached for comment on the discrepancy in the subscriber numbers.
"Sinclair is very pleased to have reached this agreement with Time Warner, which carries our stations to more subscribers than any other cable company," Sinclair CEO David Smith said in a prepared statement.
"We are excited that this agreement not only ensures retransmission of our signals by Time Warner for the next three years, but also provides for the carriage of our digital signals for the first time to most of Time Warner's subscribers, Smith added. This agreement -- which represents a mutually acceptable economic agreement between the parties -- is further indication of the value of our television stations to cable companies and provides a strong illustration of the successful operation of the free market for negotiation of retransmission-consent agreements."
Sinclair's agreement with Time Warner includes: WABM/WTTO in Birmingham, Ala.; WNYO/WUTV in Buffalo, N.Y.; WDKA/KBSI in Cape Girardeau, Mo./Paducah, Ky.; WMMP/WTAT in Charleston, S.C.; WCHS/WVAH in Charleston. W. Va.; WSTR in Cincinnati; WSYX/WTTE in Columbus, Ohio; WKEF/WRGT in Dayton, Ohio; WMYV/WXLV in Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, N.C.; WDKY in Lexington, Ky.; WTVZ in Norfolk, Va.; WCGV/WVTV in Milwaukee; WEAR in Pensacola, Fla.-Mobile, Ala.; WPGH/WPMY in Pittsburgh; WGME in Portland, Maine; WLFL/WRDC in Raleigh, N.C.; WUHF in Rochester, N.Y.; KABB/KMYS in San Antonio; WGGB in Springfield, Mass.; WNYS/WSYT in Syracuse, N.Y.; WTWC in Tallahassee, Fla.; and WTTA in Tampa, Fla.
The agreement also provides for the carriage of Sinclair's MyNetwork TV affiliates in Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, both of which are transmitted as digital multicast stations, according to Sinclair.
In other Sinclair news, subsidiary Sinclair Television Group redeemed, in full, the $307.4 million aggregate principal amount of its 8.75% senior subordinated notes due 2011.
The 2011 notes were redeemed in accordance with the terms of the indenture governing the 2011 notes at a redemption price of 104.375% of the principal amount of the 2011 notes plus accrued and unpaid interest.
The redemption of the 2011 notes and payment of accrued interest was funded from the net proceeds of Sinclair's recently financed $225 million term loan A-1, a drawdown of its revolving facility and available cash on hand.