GCI TV subscribers may lose some popular programming
Current contract negotiations could leave GCI TV customers without ABC, CW and FOX programming in January.
The company provides over 450 channels to its urban market and renewal negotiations of programming and rates happen frequently. The challenge this time, according to GCI, is a proposed 300 percent rate increase to keep ABC, FOX and CW programming on the GCI lineup.
A usual yearly increase rate is between five and 20 percent, and is far easier to strike a deal, according to GCI Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Heather Handyside.
"The challenge for us this time is that the proposed increase for their rate is far too high," Handyside said. "It's so far apart from the start when we began negotiations. It's really been hard for us to come to a price."
GCI says it is not willing to accept this hike and pass it along to its customers. GCI also says they've made numerous attempts to negotiate with the management of these stations without success.
"I think the difference this time is they hired a Lower 48 negotiator," Handyside said. "It's all about revenues, and we understand that, but the price or proposal is just so ridiculous that we are having a hard time meeting in the middle."
Handyside says she understands customer's frustrations with this process.
"People want to watch their programming, they want to watch football," said Handyside. "We're frustrated too and we are trying to bring this to resolution as quickly as possible. Again, it's all about the money and we need to keep our rates reasonable for our customers. "
Coastal Television Broadcasting Company, which broadcasts FOX, ABC and CW content in Alaska, posted a video and written statement on their website in response to the ongoing negotiations.
In it, they claim "GCI is using its monopoly power to get something for nothing."
Without a comprehensive new contract with the station owners, GCI cable customers could lose ABC and CW programming starting at midnight, January 1, 2018. FOX programming statewide would be unavailable beginning as soon as January 15, 2018.
Disclaimer: GCI is the parent company of KTVA News.