By DAVID BORAKS
MI-Connection Communications System on Wednesday worked out a new deal with WCNC-TV that keeps the Charlotte NBC affiliate on the local cable network through 2015 – though at more than double what system now pays.
Chief executive David Auger said he completed the new “retransmission consent agreement” Wednesday afternoon with WCNC and its parent, Texas-based Belo Corp. It calls for a 104 percent increase in the fees that MI-Connection must pay to carry the station over its cable lines. (Cable TV companies must pay local broadcasters a fee, in the same way they pay cable networks for programming.)
The fee increase was lower than what WCNC had sought – a 161 percent increase – but still more than what Mr. Auger said he was hoping for. But it avoids an ugly showdown that could have taken the NBC station off TV screens in the Lake Norman area.
“While the deal is substantially more expensive than what we paid in in 2012, it’s well below where we were last week and I believe it is in the best interest of the company to accept the new terms going forward,” Mr. Auger told DavidsonNews.net.
“They came down substantially and I had to go up higher than I thought was right. However, I weighted the subscriber impact of going through dropping a substantial channel, and one that has good programming,” he said.
The contract runs through 2015, Mr. Auger said. Have gave no other details, though he said the fee is now in line with what the company pays the top broadcaster in the Charlotte market, WSOC-TV. WCNC’s previous demand would have been “substantially more,” he told the MI-Connection board last week.
WCNC is the only local broadcaster up for renewal this year.
MI-Connection, which has about 15,000 customers in the Lake Norman area, is owned by the towns of Davidson and Mooresville.
Jan. 27, 2013, “MI-Connection wrestles with WCNC-TV over 2013 fees”
Jan. 30, 2012, “Network center opens; MI-Connecting completes shift to standalone company.” – includes a reference to last year’s negotiations.
April 1, 2009, “New cost for cable operators: TV station fees.”