Regional
4:57 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Time Warner and Journal Broadcast Group Dispute Drags On

Regular season football is just around the corner. Many are hoping Time Warner and the Journal Broadcast Group come to an agreement before the start.
Regular season football is just around the corner. Many are hoping Time Warner and the Journal Broadcast Group come to an agreement before the start.
Credit flickr.com/nathair

You’re probably aware of the money dispute between Time Warner and Journal Broadcast Group. They’ve been battling for nearly a month. The issue is how much the cable company should pay the broadcast group to carry its television programming.

In the meantime, Time Warner has stopped carrying Channel 4. So how big a deal is the blackout?

There’s been a lot of public finger pointing when it comes to the dispute between Time Warner and the Journal Broadcast Group. Time Warner says…

“What it comes right down to (is) it’s about money. And journal is trying to get into the pockets of the cable subscribers and we’re doing everything we can to keep control of prices that keep going up.”

For its part, Journal Broadcast Group sticks with this line…

“We have to frankly stand up for our company, and we’ve asked Time Warner to do what they do for other stations, which is pay a fair price for the rights to carry our programming.”

While both parties claim they have the best interest of consumers at heart, Barry Orton shakes his head. He’s a telecommunications professor at UW Madison.

“It’s really a fight over exactly how much of the consumer dollar each one will get. There’s no question that the consumers who are the sheep in this case are going to be sheared, the farmer and the middle man are fighting over who gets what piece of the wool,” Orton says.

Orton says the Journal Broadcast Group is definitely losing advertising dollars right now. Some programs that rake in the big bucks – think Green Bay Packers’ preseason games – are only available to about half the company’s regular audience.

However, these days, some viewers already bypass regular t-v and cable to catch games and the news and a favorite show.

Some have ditched cable for satellite television, plus, there are plenty of shows people can watch online.

So are fights like the one in Milwaukee still a big deal? Orton says yes.

“This dispute is huge,” Orton says.

After all, Orton says cable still serves 40 percent of the market.

Now that the start of the regular football season is just around the corner, he predicts pressure will build on the two sides to reach a deal.

“Once the season starts, then you’re interfering with the public religion. And so when you get the public religion involved, both sides risk really making the public mad at them,” Orton says.

Until Time Warmer and Journal Broadcasting settle their dispute, the big winner appears to be Telemundo. The Spanish-speaking t-v station has been carrying the Packers’ preseason games and inserting plenty of commercials.