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Time Warner Cable Reaches Pact with TV Station Group to End 58-Day Blackout

Deal with Journal Broadcast Group covers stations in five markets

Time Warner Cable and Journal Broadcast Group have reached deal to end a 58-day blackout of TV stations in four markets — one of the longest standoffs in the industry.

Terms of the multiyear TV carriage deal between TW Cable and Journal Broadcast were not disclosed. The blackout affected Time Warner Cable customers in Milwaukee, Wis., Green Bay/Appleton, Wis., Omaha, Neb., and Palm Springs, Calif.

Journal Broadcast Group said it “retains control of ‘TV Everywhere’ rights for live network program streaming to smartphones, tablets and computers.” TW Cable said it wasn’t seeking those rights from the broadcaster.

In a higher-profile fight with CBS, TW Cable wanted digital rights to the Eye’s TV programming. But CBS refused to include those as part of the retransmission-consent agreement with the MSO, looking to retain lucrative second-window pacts with online distributors like Netflix and Amazon. CBS and Time Warner Cable reached a deal Sept. 2 after a monthlong blackout affecting cable viewers in New York, L.A., Dallas and other markets.

In a statement, Time Warner Cable senior VP of content acquisition Andrew Rosenberg said: “As in all of our negotiations, we aim to hold down programming costs and retain our ability to deliver a great video experience for our customers. We are glad that we were able to achieve both.”

The affected Journal Broadcast stations, scheduled to return to Time Warner Cable lineups later Friday, are WTMJ (NBC) in Milwaukee; WGBA (NBC) and WACY (MyNetwork TV) in Green Bay/Appleton; KMTV (CBS) in Omaha, Neb.; and KMIR (NBC) and KPSE (MyNetwork TV) in Palm Springs, Calif.

TW Cable pulled WACY and KPSE on July 10 — 73 days ago — when the companies could not reach an agreement. FCC rules prevented the operator from removing the four others during the sweeps ratings period; the MSO removed those from local lineups July 25.

The pact between the two companies will run through at least 2016, as Journal Broadcast noted the next two Olympic games on NBC will be available under the deal.

“We’re very happy that all our viewers and customers can again receive our award-winning local newscasts, network programming and community service initiatives,” Andre Fernandez, president and CFO of Journal Communications, said in a statement.

Another Journal Broadcast station in a TW Cable market, CBS affiliate WTVF in Nashville, Tenn., was not affected by the blackout as it was operating under a separate contract. The cable operator’s continued carriage of WTVF was included as part of the new agreement, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

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