NBCUniversal and Charter Communications have made a new carriage deal. This new deal ends the dispute between Charter and NBC that earlier threatened to blackout NBC programming for the 16 million US homes.
The dispute over the carriage fees was much acute in the last days of 2016. NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast, used leverage by threatening to pull their channels, that too on the eve of the NBC “Sunday Night Football” game. Yet as the talks between NBCUniversal and Charter progressed, NBCU abandoned their threatened blackout.
Both Charter and NBCUniversal declined to offer any details of their new agreement, yet it is reported that the dispute was focused on the hike in fee that NBCUniversal was demanding for their channels. Under per the new agreement though, the distribution of KNBC-TV (Channel 4) in LA and the other NBC owned TV stations like Spanish-language Telemundo, NBC cable channels like USA Network, Bravo, CNBC, Syfy, MSNBC, E!, and NBC Sports are all covered.
Charter is the largest pay TV provider in South California. In Los Angeles itself, there are more than 1.6 million homes, that have Charter Spectrum Video service, and San Diego County has another 100,000 Spectrum homes. With the deal made, Charter Spectrum subscribers won’t have to miss any of their favorite programming on the NBCUniversal network.
Controversial carriage negotiations are much common in the television industry these days. Companies like NBCUniversal have been spending much money in programming, especially for sports, and they want to generate more revenue through their network. For instance, NBC pays the NFL more than a billion dollars every year to have the rights to telecast “Sunday Night Football.”
Pay TV operators face increasingly uncertain environment as more and more users are cutting the cord in favor of the low cost alternatives like Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. Distributors do not wish to risk alienating their users by increasing the rates. So, they are struggling hard to hold the lines in terms of cost.
Reports say that Charter is dropping Esquire channel of NBCUniversal as per the new deal, and by this, Charter has become the third distributor to get rid of Esquire. DirecTV and Dish Network also do not offer Esquire anymore, and NBCUniversal said that they are planning to keep Esquire as a digital brand.