A contract dispute between Time Warner and Hearst has left 16 Hearst-owned television stations off the air in markets across the country, including WXII, the NBC affiliate station in the Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem market.
Time Warner claims that Hearst wants a 300% increase in the amount the cable company pays to distribute the Hearst stations while Hearst says the increase is 3%.
What? That’s a big discrepancy.
In the end, despite the griping of some folks in older demographic groups, it’s Hearst that stands to lose. With so many ways to access local news and weather content these days, preferences and allegiances are fickle. Viewers will find another source for the local content.
True, the weather and traffic reports are useless, but that’s a minor part of the overall broadcast day, and Time Warner is filling the NBC slots for the time being with other affiliate stations so that network offerings are still available locally.
I don’t have the resources to ferret out the truth in corporate negotiations (300% vs. 3%), but I can see who has the most to lose in this contest. It will be interesting to see what WXII’s next Nielsen book looks like if this standoff is not resolved.