Station Carriage Disputes Still Happen. Here’s How They Impact Your Media Buy.

by Laura Hudson | March 23, 2021

There was time when we had high hopes that station disputes would be a thing of the past. We were young and naïve; it was a different time. Before I get too weepy about the days of my youth, let’s recap.

What Is a Carriage Dispute?

Your cable or satellite company pays the networks for the opportunity to carry their linear TV programming. When the time comes to renew the contract, the two companies negotiate the cost.

You, as the consumer of the content, may have noticed scrolling messages when watching your favorite station telling you to contact your cable provider so that you don’t miss any programming. Most of the time, the two parties work it out, and no one loses anything. If they cannot come to an agreement, then a blackout is inevitable. A recent example is the DISH and Nexstar dispute that was resolved at the end of 2020.

What Does This Mean for You as an Advertiser?

Your spots will run as usual on ALL other stations and carriers in the market. There is only downtime on the blacked-out station (e.g. ABC) for the percentage of the market that uses that carrier (e.g. DISH Network). All in all, it is usually very small, and the effect a blackout may have on the total spots you air in a day shouldn’t have a significant impact on your call volume.

Once the carrier and the network come to an agreement, the station is back on the air, and your buyer gets to work ensuring that all the ratings you paid for will be received. This is a great opportunity to negotiate free spots.

cj’s Media Team Is On It.

If you ever notice a message crawl across the bottom of your favorite program, and a blackout is on the horizon, do not fear for your media dollars. Chances are that cj Senior Media Buyer and industry researcher extraordinaire, Bonnie Rothenstein, has already alerted the team. cj Media is on the job and working behind the scenes to make sure your spots will be seen. You will get what you paid for, and we will update once there is an outcome.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about carriage disputes and how they impact your current cj media buy, please reach out to me or Chief Media Officer Angel Putman.

Not a cj client? Contact us today to discuss how we can help with your law firm’s advertising strategies.