Sinclair comes to terms with FiOS in Baltimore


Yet another retransmission consent negotiation has been settled without a disruption in service to MVPD subscribers, just as they usually do. This time, the venue is Baltimore MD, and the key players are television broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group and MVPD FiOS, the video-distribution wing of AT&T.

Sinclair has one O&O in the market, Fox WBFF, and it is involved in the operation of CW WNUV via an arrangement with Cunningham Broadcasting.

The now-nonexistent impasse put reception of key end-of-season NFL football games in jeopardy for FiOS subscribers, along with other high-value Fox programming.

Sinclair announced the agreement to fans of both television stations on their respective websites. It stated, “We are pleased to announce that we have reached agreement in principle with Verizon FiOS for a new deal which will provide for continued carriage of our stations on the FiOSt systems after December 31, 2011. We are currently working to finalize this agreement, but no longer anticipate any interruption in carriage. We appreciate your patience and your support of the great programming that we endeavor to provide our viewers every day. Thank you!”

RBR-TVBR observation: In a retransmission negotiation, both parties get to weigh what life would be like without the other. How much does Sinclair need FiOS distribution, and how much does FiOS need Sinclair programming? Obviously, Sinclair wants to earn as much as possible and AT&T wants to pay as little as possible. These two opposite goals clash, and in the end a price is agreed upon. It’s called the free market – got any better ideas?