Some Charter Customers Miss NFL Playoffs in Tribune Dispute

(Bloomberg) -- NFL fans in some major TV markets like San Diego missed out on playoff matchups as a fee fight between Charter Communications Inc. and Tribune Media Co. dragged on into the weekend and blacked out local TV stations for some cable subscribers.

Tribune operates stations in 24 markets where Charter has subscribers, including Denver and Cleveland, and has cut off broadcasts to that company’s pay-TV customers in those markets. Many Tribune stations carry the Fox network, which was airing the Seattle Seahawks-Dallas Cowboys playoff game starting at 8:15 p.m. New York time Saturday.

Contract negotiations between pay-TV services like Charter and channel owners like Tribune that supply programming have grown more tense as the cable universe loses subscribers to services such as Netflix. Both sides risk angering consumers by allowing blackouts to occur.

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said in an email that the company had no update or comment. A Charter spokeswoman said she had no update on the negotiations.

Cable services want to restrain costs, while media companies such as Tribune want to get the most for their news and entertainment programming.

A programming accord between Tribune and Charter’s Spectrum service expired Jan. 2, with about about 6 million Spectrum viewers losing access to the local news, traffic, weather, sports and entertainment programming provided by Tribune stations.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.