Allen's TV Cable Service subscribers lose WVLA

To our WVLA viewers who subscribe to Allen’s TV Cable Service, Inc.:

We regret to inform you that despite our diligent efforts to negotiate a fair agreement for Allen’s TV Cable Service, Inc. to bring you WVLA and all of its exciting NBC programming, we have been unable to do so, and you have lost access to station WVLA on January 8, 2018.   WVLA has successfully reached agreements with all major cable companies and we have been diligently negotiating with Allen’s Cable. to secure a new agreement for continued carriage of WVLA.  In fact, we extended our expiring agreement with Allen’s Cable for the month of January because we truly hoped that we would reach an agreement to allow you – our viewers – to continue receiving WVLA on an uninterrupted basis from Allen’s Cable.  Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to reach an agreement, Allen’s ceased distribution of WVLA on January 8th.


Unfortunately, Allen’s Cable has elected not to pay fair value for all of the great NBC programming WVLA brings you, including This Is Us, Blindspot, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Law & Order SVU, NFL and college football, the Olympics, and 19 ½ hours of local news and weather that WVLA provides to the Baton Rouge community on a weekly basis.  We are disappointed that Allen’s Cable has elected not to pay a fair price for WVLA and regret that we have not be able to reach an agreement.


If you would like to contact Allen’s Cable to let them know you value station WVLA and will switch providers if WVLA is not promptly restored, their customer service number is 985 – 384 – 8335.  Ask for Greg Price the owner.  


If you would like to ensure that you are able to receive all of WVLA’s NFL and college football broadcasts plus all of the other great NBC programming and your local news, we recommend that you contact DirecTV at 855-493-3473 or Dish Network at 1-800-798-4970.


Because we know how frustrating this is for you, below are answers to some of the questions we get asked most frequently in connection with these types of negotiations:


Q: Why does this happen?

A:  Just like ESPN, Disney Channel, USA, Bravo and the many other channels they bring to you, cable and satellite companies need to have an agreement with your local television stations to bring you the stations through their distribution systems (this is commonly called retransmission consent).  If the parties aren’t able to reach an agreement, the cable or satellite company can’t include the station on its distribution system. 


It may be helpful for you to think of this as a typical commercial relationship that exists between the product maker and the retailer that sell the products to you the consumer.  Let’s take a lawn mower as an example – Honda, Black & Decker, and Snapper are all the product makers.  These product makers sell you their lawn mowers through places like Home Depot, Lowes and Sears.  But in order for Home Depot to sell you a Honda lawn mower, Honda and Home Depot must have an agreement between them for Home Depot’s rights to sell you the Honda lawn mower.  If Home Depot and Honda can’t agree, then Home Depot will no longer be able to sell you a Honda lawn mower and you will have to go elsewhere to get one.   Like Honda and Home Depot in the example, WVLA and Allen’s Cable have to have an agreement for Allen’s TV Cable, Inc. to sell you WVLA and if they do not, then Allen’s Cable can’t sell you WVLA.   


Q:  What does Allen’s TV Cable, Inc. pay for when it buys the right to sell you WVLA?

A: Local stations invest millions of dollars each year to bring you, our viewers, high quality, compelling entertainment programs (like Law & Order SVU, Chicago Fire, Dateline and many others), sports programming, including NFL and college football, the Olympics and Triple Crown racing, and all of the local news and information programming we bring you every day.


Q:  But why does Allen’s TV Cable, Inc. have to pay you when WVLA is available free, over-the-air?

A.  Although local television stations are always available to you, the end-user, on a free over-the-air basis, Allen’s Cable is using our station as a tool to get you to buy its product.  That is, Allen’s Cable is selling you our station and it is only fair that Allen’s Cable pay us a fee for the right to sell you our station.  And all we are asking Allen’s Cable to do is to pay us a fair economic value for WVLA and all of the programming we bring to you. 


Q: Doesn’t WVLA make its money through advertising it sells?  Why does it have to charge cable companies too?

A:  WVLA does earn a portion of its revenues through advertising sales, but these revenues alone do not provide a sufficient source of funding to bring you all of the programming that we do.  WVLA is a local business in your community and to survive and bring you the programming it does, it must operate profitably.  In addition, basic fairness means that Allen’s Cable pay some of the revenues it earns by selling you WVLA to compensate us for the right to do so. 


Q:  So this is just about money?

A:  Retransmission consent documents are complicated agreements between the parties involving everything from how a cable system gets our station’s signal to how it is allowed to manipulate and use it within its system to channel positioning and of course fees.   We and Allen’s Cable need to be in agreement on all of the many terms that make up our agreement, not just the money terms; and we and Allen’s Cable are not in agreement on a number of material terms right now.


Q:  How long is this dispute going to last.

A:  Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing how long it will take for Allen’s TV Cable, Inc. and WVLA to reach agreement on the terms that will govern Allen’s Cable the right to bring you WVLA.


Q:  Allen’s TV Cable, Inc. says WVLA is responsible for “blacking out” its signal from Allen’s Cable and that it would continue to carry WVLA if the station did not “force Allen’s Cable to pull it.”  Why are you forcing Allen’s Cable to blackout WVLA?

A:  Regardless of the rhetoric Allen’s Cable throws at you, their buyer, WVLA is not forcing Allen’s Cable to “blackout” or “pull” or “drop” WVLA.  It is Allen Cable’s own voluntary decision to not reach a fair agreement with us for the right to bring you WVLA.   Basically, this is nothing different than any other buyer and seller not agreeing on the terms of a sale – an outcome that occurs daily in commercial transactions.    


Q:  What can I do?

A:  If WVLA and its programming is important to you, you can call Allen’s TV Cable, Inc.  at 985–384–8335 and let them know you want them to reach a fair agreement with us.  You can also switch to another cable company that has determined it values what WVLA brings to the Baton Rouge community.


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