Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Time Warner/CW Squeeze

We've touched on this before, with the tough last-minute negotiations to put "CinCW" on Time Warner Cable's Cincinnati system making us wonder about the commitment of CW partner - uh, Time Warner - to spread the network far and wide.

It looks like we have the answer.

In an article this week in Broadcasting & Cable magazine, B&C's John M. Higgins details that Time Warner Cable is actually getting payment from the operator of "CinCW", Clear Channel's WKRC/12.

A source tells B&C that the Cincinnati CBS affiliate is paying roughly $1 per subscriber - or in the ballpark of $350,000 - to get "CinCW" on basic cable channel 20...where it'll land later this month. At least some of that money is for advertisements promoting the station.

Since Time Warner owns half of the CW network, why would it extract this kind of money...when you presume it'd be itching to get the system on cable?

The answer, according to the B&C article, is the overall question of network compensation with cable systems.

CBS, the other half of the CW partnership, has made no secret that it intends on getting money from cable systems to carry its stations. This effort the other way, according to the B&C article, is supposedly aimed at sending CBS and chief Les Moonves a "message", giving the cable side a leg up when those negotiations start taking place.

The other problem outlined in the article is in small markets like Lima, where the CW affiliate is a digital/cable feed provided by NBC affiliate WLIO/35.

There, things have apparently come to quite a battle, if you follow this page on the WLIO website dedicated to it. It contains an overview of the situation, and letters from WLIO's general manager and even from the mayor of Lima.

It appears that as outlined in the B&C article, Time Warner Cable is asking for cash payment to put the local CW affiliate on analog cable...where WLIO says it just wanted "West Central Ohio CW" to replace the existing "WBOH" WB affiliate on analog channel 3.

It's another example where "corporate cousins" don't often behave as much as "family" as you might expect...


Anonymous said...

I think it is time for some communities to rip up the franchise
agreement that is in place with time warner cable and offer some competition. This is how time warner has become so dominate and this is how time warner needs to be shown they donot hold all of the cards reguardless of what they think.

Anonymous said...

AT&T will eventially be Time Warner's great threat once they begin offering cable. More and more their internet broadband is creeping in to rural areas as they upgrade their optics systems. Finally, cable won't be a monopoly as it is now in many markets. They're going to have to start carrying what the customers want or they will lose them to either AT&T or the satellite companies. Customers want to see their local channels and their local HD channels. The FCC is about to force cable to carry HD local channels and even their sub-channels. It's only right. And, there's a great move to demand that cable networks are treated with the same rules as broadcast channels. The playing field should be level for all.

VODood said...

How about the fact that the CW is not available on DirecTV? Not in Cleveland, Cinci, Dayton, C-Bus, Toledo or even Detroit.

I'm told there IS a contract with the CW and DirecTV, but not with the individual market affiliates. I do promo work for the Toledo CW (WT05)...and can't get the CW on fed to me (I have DirecTV).

At this rate I'll be cancelling my DirecTV contract.

I find it hard to believe the CW affiliates don't have contracts. MILLINS of people are not receiving CW programming via DirecTV, which affects ratings and revenue.

Anonymous said...

You must be talking about the CW in HDTV. Directv does carry the SD version of the channel on 55 WBNX.

Not to mention that WBNX isn't even broadcasting in HD yet!

Anonymous said...

WBNX will be in HD this year on cable (as long as cable systems wise up to the fact they'll lose some key customers if they don't carry all the HD locals). Then in the spring of 2007 WBNX will be broadcasting their over the air HD signal. This was reported here at OMW last week. Dish Network told me that Cleveland will have WBNX-DT soon, along with the other HD locals. Cleveland's on their 50-city to do list. Some cities are already receiving the HD locals from Dish. Sounds like Dish is getting way ahead of Direct with their upgrades.

Neil said...

I don't understand why broadcast stations such as the CBS affiliate you mentioned, and such as WJW Channel 8 locally, can demand payment from cable companies serving customers who could get the station over the air anyway. Any law or regulation permitting that should be changed, IMNSHO.

I bring up channel 8 here because Time Warner had a recent ad in the Plain Dealer threatening to drop it.

Anonymous said...

is cw coming toledo directv ever