Time Warner Cable Customers Face Blackouts in 14 Markets Over Retrans Dispute

LIN Television threatens to pull stations unless TWC increases retransmission fees by May 31

Time Warner Cable has until May 31 to renegotiate a retransmission-consent deal, or LIN Television will pull its local broadcast stations in 14 markets. The current arrangement expires at 5 p.m. ET that day.

Time Warner Cable is reporting that LIN Television is seeking a 50 percent increase in fees. LIN — which has been known to play hardball in these situations — did not confirm those rates but said it is asking for a "fraction" of what the provider pays for many other cable networks such as AMC, Spike TV, CNBC, VH1, MTV, Animal Planet, E!, Syfy, C-SPAN, Country Music Television, Bravo and BET.

“We are working hard to reach a new agreement with Time Warner,” LIN said in a statement. “However, we feel it is our duty to keep our viewers informed when a contract deadline approaches and a new agreement has not yet been reached. If we do not reach an agreement, by law, Time Warner cannot carry our signal on its cable systems.”

If LIN's stations — affiliated with Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, the CW and MyNetwork TV — go dark on Time Warner Cable, viewers can continue to access local TV via antenna or by switching to an alternative pay-TV provider such as AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, DirecTV or Dish Network.

Also read: AMC Networks, Time Warner Cable Agree to Temporary Extension for IFC, WE tv

"Time Warner has yet to recognize the fair value of our programming," the media company said in a statement. "For many years, we have provided viewers with around-the-clock news, political coverage, traffic, weather, public service announcements, as well as popular local and national programming. It costs a substantial amount of money to produce local programming, bid for top-quality programming, invest in high-definition, and make other upgrades to equipment and technology so we can deliver a superior product. Our stations are important assets to the local community and we only want what is fair."