Time Warner Cable blocked WTMJ-TV Channel 4 programming beginning on Wednesday at midnight following a dispute between Time Warner and Channel 4’s owner, Journal Broadcast Group, over license fee negotiations.
According to a statement released by Time Warner, Journal Broadcast Group is insisting on an increase of more than 200 percent over previous compensation agreements.
“We continue to take a stand against unreasonable fee increases by local broadcast TV stations,” the statement read. “We are pushing back against these broadcasters, such as Journal, that demand massive price increases without delivering more value.”
But according to Journal Broadcast Group, its fee request aligns with the fair-market value already being paid to stations nationwide.
“Until this unfortunate take down action by Time Warner Cable, Journal Broadcast Group had successfully negotiated more than 140 contracts with other distributors without any interruption in service,” a statement from Journal Broadcast Group read.
Impacted viewers in Wisconsin include those of WTMJ-TV (NBC) in Milwaukee, WGBA-TV (NBC) in Green Bay/Appleton, and WACY-TV (My Network) in Green Bay/Appleton.
Time Warner has been running a scrolling message detailing its decision to cut programming in the stations’ spots.
Jim Thomas, spokesperson for Journal Broadcast Group, said the two parties are at a standstill in negotiations.
“We’d love to negotiate, but so far Time Warner has told us there’s nothing there to negotiate,” Thomas said. “We’re at an impasse.”
The dispute could jeopardize viewers’ ability to watch the Green Bay Packers’ preseason games, slated to begin in early August.
Thomas hopes to reach a solution by the start of preseason games but isn’t certain about the likelihood of that solution.
“It’s too far away to predict,” Thomas said. “It’s certainly in the future, but we want to continue to work on a resolution so that that doesn’t happen.”
Click here to read more about the dispute on OnMilwaukee.com, a media partner of BizTimes Media.