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Wednesday, December 16, 2015
3:06 PM | Posted by Billy Ray | | Edit Post
While we have talked a lot lately about progress and issues surrounding our analog-to-digital channel conversion project, and that conversation will continue; there is another matter we are battling on your behalf that we have not talked about lately. This is not a new issue. Rather it is the recurring matter of broadcast channels, and other cable programming vendors, making outlandish demands for program access fees, as well as demands that they be the exclusive outlet for certain programming.
A number of programming contracts have expired this year, or will expire at the end of the year. Some of those vendors have settled for reasonable rate increases, but a couple of them are still hammering away at us with demands for exclusivity and staggering rate increases. Those vendors are AMC Networks and Max Media Kentucky (owner of WNKY-CBS and WNKY-NBC in Bowling Green). Shortly after the first of the new year, we will also begin a painful negotiation with Turner Networks.
AMC is riding the popularity of its Walking Dead series as it demands huge increases in the fees for AMC channel, as well as demanding that we add (and ask you to pay for) five more of the channels they own, even though we do not want them. We, along with over 700 other small cable operators across the nation, purchase the majority of the programming you see on TV from National Cable Television Co-op (NCTC), which gives us better pricing and bargaining leverage. NCTC is in charge of the negotiations and while we certainly believe an agreement will be reached, there is also a remote possibility that AMC will walk away from the negotiations and require all of the cable operators to take AMC off until an agreement is reached. If you would like to read more about these negotiations, with continually updated information, you may do so by clicking this link. We will make every effort to get the best deal possible for our subscribers working through this co-op.
The situation with Max Media/WNKY is even worse. They sought, and received, FCC permission to virtually force WTVF and WSMV off of any cable system serving Barren County. We are in discussions with them and we hope to get them to honor the wishes of the people of Glasgow by allowing us to continue carrying some of the programming on these stations, but the outcome of those talks is still up in the air. They are also demanding very large fee increases for their programming.
Both of these battles are ongoing, and likely will continue throughout the remainder of 2015. We will keep you posted on how all of this develops, but a satisfactory outcome seems unlikely for the people of Glasgow. We are again caught between the dueling issues of dropping programming, or paying a lot more for it.