WXII still out for Time Warner customers
Jul 11, 2012 (Winston-Salem Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The contract dispute between Time Warner Cable and Hearst Television, the company that owns WXII-Channel 12, continued to perplex viewers in the Triad on Wednesday.
And a similar dispute resulted in DirecTV customers losing access to such popular channels as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
Both situations involve the fees for carriage agreements between the cable or satellite companies and the TV channels.
As of Wednesday evening, WXII and 11 other TV stations owned by Hearst around the country were still off Time Warner Cable. Negotiations for contract renewal were unsuccessful on Monday, and no breakthroughs have been announced so far.
In some markets, Time Warner Cable has replaced local stations with out-of-market stations belonging to the same network; in the Triad, for instance, WXII has been replaced on cable by WBRE, an NBC affiliate from Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
According to a report on the industry news site AdWeek.com, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, the company that owns WBRE, is protesting that move.
"We believe Time Warner on an unauthorized basis in an illegal manner misappropriated our signals from three markets," a Nexstar spokesperson said in a statement. "Nexstar intends to pursue all legal and regulatory remedies to cause Time Warner to cease and desist misappropriating signals."
A Time Warner Cable spokesperson told AdWeek that the company is "acting well within our rights, as we have in the past, in trying to help our subscribers through this."
Meanwhile, there is still no sign of when Time Warner Cable customers in the Triad will see WXII return to the cable lineup.
"We will continue negotiations and are hopeful that the channel will be returned to the lineup shortly," said Scott Pryzwansky, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable in the Carolinas. "We think it's wrong to put viewers in the middle of business negotiations. We know our customers are tired of these public contract disputes -- and so are we."
"We regret the inconvenience Time Warner Cable has imposed on its subscribers," Hank Price, the president and general manager of WXII, said in a press release, "and we will keep you fully informed of developments."
WXII remains available over-the-air and on other video providers such as DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Dish Network. Newscasts on WXII are also being streamed live at www.wxii12.com.
People interested in switching their TV sets to an antenna can go to www.antennaweb.org to find out what channels are available in their area. WXII also has engineers available to talk people through setting up their antennas; for more information, call (336) 721-9944.
DirecTV Group Inc., meanwhile, stopped carrying channels owned by Viacom Inc. on Wednesday. The two companies blamed each other for the shutdown.
Viacom and DirecTV have a seven-year-old agreement, which Viacom says meant that it has been paid below-market rates for the programming. DirecTV, meanwhile, says Viacom is asking for too much money. DirecTV has 20 million U.S. subscribers.
Dish Network dropped AMC Networks channels including AMC, WeTV and IFC at the end of June after failing to reach an agreement.
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