Market Watch

Sinclair and Bright House Agree Retransmission


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Bright House Networks, the nation's sixth largest cable operator, has reached agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting group to continue to retransmit five local TV stations. Thie multi-year deal ensures more than one million of Bright House's 2.4 million customers will see no service disruption. The deal covers two Sinclair TV stations in Florida: WTTA in Tampa and WTWC in Tallahassee; and three in Alabama: WEAR in Mobile and Birmingham's WABM and WTTO.

Analysis
While most of the attention during Sinclair's latest round of negotiations with operators was focused on the standoff with Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks had as much at stake with over one million subscribers at risk of being blacked out. Out of Sinclair's five stations involved, My Network affiliate WTTA, has by far the largest audience in Bright House Networks' footprint, since the operator is the dominant cable provider in the Tampa Bay area.

Screen Digest estimates Bright House was paying Sinclair $0.08 per sub per month in 2007. The last time retransmission fees were negotiated between the two parties was in late 2009 where we believe the fee rose to $0.11 per sub per month, bringing in over $1.45m in retrans fees for the WTTA station.

Interestingly, Time Warner Cable handled that negation on behalf of Bright House Networks via the Time Warner-Advanced/Newhouse Partnership. This time around, Bright House Networks negotiated its latest deal with Sinclair separately from Time Warner. IHS Screen Digest estimates Bright House and Sinclair have agreed on retransmission fees of $0.13 to $0.15per sub per month for WTTA. While Sinclair settled on an agreement with Bright House Networks for all five stations, it is still finalising a deal reached in principle with Time Warner Cable.

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