Negotiations continue; New deadline set for noon Jan. 1
Q. What’s going on and what is this negotiation about?
Charter has built a business by taking our programming and reselling it to its customers. While we do allow anyone to take the programming for personal use for FREE by using an antenna, we don't allow anyone to take our programming and resell it to the public without fair compensation.
This right to negotiate for fair compensation was authorized by Congress in 1992. The 1992 Cable Act, also known as the retransmission consent process, was in large part designed to ensure that local TV stations would be able to enhance their local news and community service efforts. Our local news operation is by far the largest single expense of the television station, as it should be. We provide many hours of local news each week. Again, our agreements with operators such as Charter support our ability to provide local news and other programming.
Q. What will we be missing if KXLY ABC4 is not available on Charter?
We produce nearly 23 hours of local news each week covering the issues important to Spokane/Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding communities. In addition, we broadcast ABC’s award-winning and highly-rated news, sports and entertainment programming including Good Morning America, ABC World News, Dancing With the Stars, Modern Family, NBA and Scandal just to name a few.
Q. Won’t Charter just add another ABC affiliate?
In short, they can’t. KXLY ABC4 is the local affiliate for Stevens and Okanogan counties. It’s called a Designated Marketing Area or DMA. If you live in Stevens or Okanogan county, KXLY ABC4 is your local ABC affiliate.
Q. What are my other options for getting KXLY ABC4 programming?
Alternatively, satellite providers will continue to carry KXLY ABC4 without interruption beyond December 31, 2013. You may also use an antenna to receive KXLY ABC4's digital, high-definition signal over the air free of charge. If you’re interested in switching to another provider, here is a list of contact numbers and online locations:
DirecTV: 1-888-777-2454 or DirecTV.com<https://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/login/login.jsp>
DISH: 1-888-926-5457 or dish.com<http://www.dish.com/>
Q. How will this negotiation impact my monthly bill with Charter?
Charter can reach a deal with KXLY ABC4 without raising its customers' bills because they have been charging customers for providing local stations for a long time (and for far longer than they have been compensating local stations for their programming).
KXLY ABC4 is asking for a small fraction of what Charter charges its customers for local stations. Even if the other local stations in the market were all receiving the same amount of compensation we are asking for, that total would still not come close to what Charter collects from its customers.
Charter re-sells our programming to you. We are simply asking for a fair amount of what they charge you. Again, they have been re-selling our programming to you for many, many years - long before they ever started compensating local stations.
Something else to consider: Charter has built a very profitable, global business by reselling programming provided by local stations and cable companies. Our station is one of the most-watched channels in Charter's lineup, yet Charter pays many times more money to national cable channels - none of which are watched as frequently as KXLY ABC4 by a wide margin.
Q. Is KXLY ABC4 making unreasonable demands of Charter?
No. What we are asking is fair. KXLY ABC4 has negotiated dozens of agreements with other cable and satellite providers--Charter has negotiated THOUSANDS of agreements. Both parties should know what's fair.
KXLY ABC4 has agreements with other operators in the market and our request for compensation from Charter is in the same range as all the other agreements we have recently negotiated. And, it is only a fraction of what you the customer is charged by Charter to receive our programming. What we are asking for is far below the rates Charter pays to national cable channels which are far less popular than KXLY ABC4, have far fewer viewers, and provide no local news.
Q. Why wouldn't a local TV station grant an extension of the negotiation period to the operator so its programming continues to be seen?
An extension makes the most sense when both parties feel they are close enough to reaching agreement that additional good faith negotiations are likely to resolve open issues. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If the negotiation has been on-going for a long period (sometimes including extensions), the station or cable operator may feel more than enough time has been spent discussing contract terms.
If the sides are just so far apart that resolution seems unlikely, cable companies do sometimes drop TV stations from their systems until an agreement is reached.
We are keenly aware that viewers then become caught in the middle of a business dispute. This is a bad outcome for both the station and the cable operator.