TWC And Sinclair Face Off On Carriage Fees

Well, it's that time again. The time of the year when yet another group of cable viewers don't know if their favorite shows and local news will continue to be broadcast. Over the last couple of years in particular, things have really become heated between cable companies and local affiliates. Cable companies want to pay less for carriage, while stations are demanding more. It's a tough spot for companies like Time Warner Cable to be in. On one hand, they look like the bad guy if they don't reach an agreement and allow coverage to cease. On the other, they really look like the bad guy for signing a terrible deal and passing the inflated cost for carriage onto the customer.

It's a real no-win situation for the cable companies. Stations basically have them over a barrel, and if you're too far out to fetch a local station via an OTA antenna, you have little choice but to pay the increase that will inevitably come or switch carriers. Or just do without cable altogether, which a growing amount of people seem to be doing now that Netflix and Hulu are so easily accessible.

Now, TWC is informing customers that they may miss their favorite shows once more if an agreement cannot be hammered out soon with Sinclair Broadcast Group. At dispute are the fees that TWC pays to carry Sinclair's station; for now, an extension has been agreed upon, but a deal has to be made soon...or else. If one cannot be made by this Saturday, local affiliates of Fox, CBS and ABC could go offline for some TWC markets, but the company has a back-up plan in place. They will temporarily deliver these local feeds from another nearby station, enabling customers to see hit shows but not their local news.

We're pretty sure the two will eventually reach an agreement; it's not like TWC can really say no if they plan on keeping their customers. Which is why stations most certainly have the upper hand. We're guessing TWC will end up having to pay far more than they wanted for carriage, and in a few months, you'll see it in the rise in your bill. Just a hunch.