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GCI Threatens to Remove KTUU-TV from its Cable System in Nine Rural Communities (10/11/2013)

Published On: Oct 11 2013 07:42:47 PM AKDT
Updated On: Oct 11 2013 07:31:00 AM AKDT
Anchorage, AK -

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 11, 2013

KTUU-TV today reiterated its offer to provide free carriage of its programming through next year to GCI cable systems in rural Alaska. GCI is threatening to blackout NBC and Channel 2 News in nine rural communities.

The written proposal marked at least the fifth time that KTUU-TV has offered GCI free carriage of its lineup through December 31, 2014. Still, GCI has threatened to remove KTUU programming—including the award-winning Channel 2 News broadcasts—for some 7,000 rural residential GCI cable subscribers in the following areas, after October 16, 2013: Barrow, Bethel, Cordova, Kodiak, Kotzebue, Nome, North Slope and Valdez.

KTUU-TV’s no-strings-attached offer is the same that GCI has next year in the Anchorage designated market area (DMA), where the majority of its cable subscribers reside. In the industry, it is referred to as must-carry status.

“I don’t know how we can be clearer than to say free through December 31, 2014,” said Andy MacLeod, president and general manager of KTUU-TV. “GCI has the same terms in Anchorage, and we urge GCI to provide the same consideration for rural Alaska viewers.”

GCI is choosing to hold its 7,000 rural cable subscribers hostage in a fruitless attempt to force KTUU-TV into committing to an unprecedented 12-year agreement for 2015 and beyond—an agreement that would lock KTUU-TV’s content on to GCI distribution for minimal payments.

 “October 16th is not a magical date where there is any financial change in carriage of KTUU-TV. In fact,nothing will change until after December 31, 2014,” MacLeod added. “GCI has manufactured a crisis on an artificial timeline.”

“These rural cable subscribers pay GCI each month in good faith, and it’s unfortunate that GCI is attempting to use them as a negotiating tactic,” said Brad Hillwig, KTUU-TV marketing director. “We’re disappointed that GCI is choosing to deny these subscribers the NBC programming and Channel 2 News content they pay for and clearly value.”

For its part, GCI did remove the false allegation posted to its website on Thursday which stated that KTUU-TV threatened to pull its programming from the rural areas in question. KTUU-TV accepts the correction as a step in the right direction.

KTUU-TV also has advised GCI that it has free transport of its signal to serve approximately 14 other non-GCI-owned small cable operators that serve less than 2,000 residences and are fed off GCI’s satellite. GCI has threatened to eliminate their access to NBC and Channel 2 News also.

Viewers potentially affected by GCI’s proposed blackouts may also be able to see KTUU-TV on Dish Network, DirecTV and on the public Alaska Rural Communication System (ARCS). Channel 2 News is also available on Airwave—a free live streaming and on demand mobile application available on iOS and Andriod.

Contacts:

Brad Hillwig, Marketing Director KTUU-TV 762-9203 bhillwig@ktuu.com

About KTUU-TV

KTUU-TV’s early beginnings date back to 1953. Over the ensuing six decades, the station has built a reputation of excellence as Alaska’s most watched news source, producing more than 22-hours of news and sports content each week on television. Online, KTUU.com has become a digital news leader, and Channel 2’s mobile News and Weather applications are on the leading edge of mobile journalism in Alaska. Nielsen Media research shows that Channel 2 News products reach more than 89-percent of the adults who watch local news in a week, and more than 85-percent of those viewers watch Channel 2 News exclusively. That strong reach and brand loyalty are augmented by added distribution to the state’s capital and more than 244 rural communities throughout Alaska.