Blackouts are becoming more common as cord cutting puts pressure on local affinities and cable networks alike. Recently, Nexstar-owned locals went dark on DIRECTV. Last night, Disney-owned ABCs and Disney networks went dark on Spectrum. Now Comcast could be losing two local FOX affiliates.
In a statement sent to Cord Cutters News a Comcast spokesperson said: “Our agreements with programmers expire from time to time, and we are working to reach a new agreement that reflects how customers are consuming content today and in the future. We’ve reached thousands of agreements with programmers and hope to do the same with Imagicomm Communications.”
Update: Comcast reached out to Cord Cutters News to clarify that only two of the Imagicomm Communications owned stations are up for renewal at this time and both are FOX affiliates.
In a statement to Cord Cutters News Imagicomm Communications said: “Rapidly escalating programming costs and Imagicomm Communications’ unwavering commitment to local journalism necessitate that distributors like Comcast/Xfinity pay their fair share to carry our stations’ signals. We have successfully completed renewals with numerous distributers and remain committed to negotiating in good faith with Comcast to find a forward-looking solution that works for both parties.”
Fox 13 has posted a warning to its viewers on its website saying:
The carriage agreement between FOX13 and Comcast/Xfinity will expire at 4 pm, Friday, September 8, 2023. You may no longer be able to watch your favorite programming from FOX13 live on Comcast/Xfinity, including college and professional football, Friday night wrestling, and FOX13 News. Please know, we are working hard to avoid a disruption in your Comcast/Xfinity broadcast television service, however without an agreement in place for retransmission of FOX13’s programming, FOX13’s programming will be removed from its lineup.
It is FOX13’s commitment to serve our community. You can call Comcast/Xfinity at 1-800-934-6489 and fight to keep FOX13 coming to your home.
Imagicomm Communications owns 18 local affiliates, including KYMA, KIEM, KVIQ, KPVI, KLAX, WABG, WNBD, WXVT, WICZ, WSYT, KOKI, KMYT, KMVU, KFBI, WHBQ, KAYU, KFFX, and KCYU. Right now, two of these are up for renewal with Comcast the KAYU in Spokane and WHBQ in Memphis both FOX affiliates.
Twelve of these stations recently came from Cox Media Group, which sold them to Imagicomm Communications in 2022.
As cable TV subscriber numbers continue to drop, locals have been asking for more money. Recently cable networks like Spectrum and Comcast have started to push back against these demands, being more willing to let them go dark. For now, we will have to wait and see what happens.