Channels operated by Tribune Media have gone dark for subscribers of Spectrum, the cable TV brand of Charter Communications, potentially depressing viewership for upcoming NFL playoff games should the two parties not reach an agreement in time for weekend kickoffs.
“It is unfortunate that Tribune has decided to pull its programming from out customers’ lineups,” Charter said in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. “Tribune is demanding an increase of more than double what we pay today for the same programming. That is more than we pay any other broadcaster. They’re not being reasonable.”
Tribune confirmed that the blackout consists of 33 TV stations in 24 markets across the U.S.
“In addition to local news, such programming as the NFL playoffs and NCAA basketball will be lost. At the same time, more than 14 million subscribers nationwide have also lost access to WGN America, Tribune’s basic cable entertainment network,” Tribune said.
Included in some of the lost markets are Seattle and Indianapolis, where interest in playoff games featuring the Seahawks (against the Dallas Cowboys) and Colts (against the Houston Texans) are considerably high.
“We’ve offered Spectrum fair market rates,” said Tribune Media senior vp Gary Weitman. “Spectrum has refused our offer and failed to negotiate in a meaningful fashion.”
Tribune said that customers looking for NFL playoff games should turn to the NFL and Yahoo Sports mobile apps.
The ongoing Tribune-Spectrum feud comes as another one between Disney and FiOS ended, as those two struck a deal a day ahead of New Year’s Eve when their previous arrangement was set to expire.