CHICAGO — Tribune Broadcasting television stations in 24 markets across the United States are no longer available to Spectrum cable subscribers via the company’s cable systems after the two companies failed to come terms on a new distribution agreement, impacting 6 million Spectrum subscribers.
The contract between Tribune Broadcasting and Spectrum expired on Jan 2.
At the same time, more than 14 million subscribers nationwide have also lost access to WGN America, Tribune’s basic cable entertainment network.
“We’re extremely disappointed that we do not have an agreement on the renewal of our contract with Spectrum,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune Media’s senior vice president for corporate relations. “The NFL playoffs are in jeopardy — beginning this weekend with critical games in some key markets like Indianapolis and Seattle. We don’t want Spectrum subscribers to miss these games.”
Spectrum called the dispute “unfortunate” and has replaced the local TV channels with an on-screen message informing subscribers about the status of the dispute.
The company has 16 million residential customers across the country, according to Deadline.
The dispute involves “retransmission fees” — a fee providers (cable, satellite, etc.) pay to television broadcasters to include channels in their broadcast lineup.
The previous contract expired at midnight on Monday, but both companies agreed to a temporary extension to allow for additional negotiations. The extension expired at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday.