Comcast hasn’t dropped the network in any market “as of today,” FETV said, but a cancellation notice will go into effect December 31, 2023 unless “a new agreement is reached.” It’s also unclear how many markets could potentially be affected, but FETV said the primary market is the Chicago metropolitan area.
FETV President and CEO Drew Sumrall told Cord Cutters News that while carriage disputes are common, Comcast routinely demanded unfair terms despite the network’s top 30 Nielsen coverage ranking.
Comcast told Cord Cutters News that FETV has a leased access agreement with the cable TV company for distribution on certain systems and that it is in “renewal discussions” with FETV’s third-party representatives that handle the distribution agreement for the Chicago market.
“There is no impact for customers in other markets where FETV is also distributed on a leased access basis,” a Comcast spokesperson said in statement.
FETV’s confirmation comes after a Cord Cutters News reader reached out to us earlier this week and said they’d spotted a scrolling message on FETV that said Comcast may drop the network.
“[N]umerous networks with a fraction of our audience are paid millions of dollars per year in license fees, while family-friendly independents like ourselves are given much less favorable terms, including demanding FETV pay for carriage,” Sumrall said.
Sumrall said disputes between independent networks and larger companies like Comcast are “systemic” and have “nothing to do with viewership.” According to Sumrall, FeTV and fellow independent station, INSP, had a combined audience total of 600,000 households which “amounts to a top five audience on cable.”
“[C]ompanies like Comcast apparently want these independents drowned out while mega-companies drive up costs for every consumer,” Sumrall said. “FETV does not charge our affiliates a license fee to be carried, and we refuse to be the scapegoat for a struggling industry desperate to offset losses wasted on content with little to no viewership.”
FeTV, added to Comcast in 2019, features classic programming like Leave it to Beaver, Bewitched, and Perry Mason.
“We deeply appreciate the millions of loyal viewers who watch our networks and will continue to fight every day to bring them affordable, family-friendly entertainment,” Sumrall said.
Image credit: FETV