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Retrans Agreement Reached with DirecTV, Mississippi Station

In CBS, Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston, Mississippi, Retransmission on December 30, 2011 at 2:54 am

What station doesn’t want to get paid just for being carried?

In the most recent example of media companies negotiating for more dollars, DirecTV and CBS affiliate WCBI-TV have reached an agreement to continue carrying the north Mississippi station as part of its local channel lineup.

Though amounts were not disclosed, a DirecTV representative told The Dispatch newspaper Thursday the satellite television giant would more than likely be able to meet any demands.

WCBI-TV’s parent company, Morris Multimedia Inc., did not disclose how long the negotiations had been going on, but the new contract will last three years.

For those unfamiliar with television affiliate retrans issues, The Dispatch offers some background, courtesy of DirecTV’s spokesperson, Tom Tyrer:

The need for contracts began when Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Tyrer explained. It included a provision that local stations could be carried by cable and satellite providers. 

Local stations have two options, he said. They can exercise the must-carry option, which means the distributor carries programming without paying the local stations. Or, local stations can exercise the retransmission consent option, which means the distributor pays the local station a fee to carry its programming.

“We have no problem compensating Morris fairly,” Tyrer said.

Apparently, they don’t, since a contract agreement was reached around noon Thursday, according to an article on WCBI-TV’s website. Per the arrangement, programming should not be interrupted on Jan. 1.

The CBS affiliate is one of several stations in the Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston market in north Mississippi. It’s unclear if other stations in the market also have similar contract options with either cable or satellite providers. Most, if not all, stations nationwide have contracts with both, and constantly have to either renegotiate or agree to the must-carry stipulation.

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