Public Television and Time Warner Cable Agree on Digital Carriage

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Washington, DC, September 19, 2000 -- The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Association of Americaâs Public Television Stations (APTS) have entered into an agreement in principle with Time Warner Cable whereby the digital signals of public TV stations in markets with Time Warner Cable systems will be carried on the local cable service. The agreement in principle must be signed by 80 percent of public television stations in Time Warner markets before it is binding on the stations and Time Warner Cable. There is a 45-day window during which stations may sign the agreement.

Under the agreement in principle, 140 public television stations are eligible for carriage on Time Warner Cable systems reaching approximately 12 percent of American television households.

PBS and APTS negotiated the agreement in principle on behalf of stations in Time Warner markets to ensure carriage of digital signals as stations begin to make the transition to digital broadcasting. Negotiations were directed by a joint committee of the APTS and PBS boards, chaired by Sidney Topol, a member of the PBS Board of Directors.

"This is a groundbreaking collaboration between public television and Time Warner Cable," said Mr. Topol. "The agreement assures that millions of Americans will have access to expanded programming and education services on their local public TV stationsâ digital signal. We applaud Time Warner for making this important commitment to serving the public interest." Time Warner Cable Senior Vice President Fred Dressler said, "We believe that this is a win-win situation for Time Warner Cable, public television, and the viewing public. Itâs important for our local systems to carry the valuable program services of public television stations on our digital tier." The key elements of the agreement in principle are:

  • Recognition that multiple public television stations in markets often provide differentiated services to distinct audiences and a provision for carriage of more than one public television service per market under certain circumstances;
  • Inclusion of high-definition and multicast programming, and program-related material; and
  • Provision of carriage through the transition period from analog to digital broadcasting.

"I am delighted at the positive outcome of the negotiations between APTS/PBS and Time Warner Cable on behalf of our nationâs public television stations," said APTS President and CEO David Brugger. "We applaud Time Warnerâs leadership in recognizing the value of local public television stations to their franchisesâ program schedule. Public TV stationsâ educational, noncommercial programming and program-related data services will enhance Time Warner Cableâs digital offerings to its subscribers and extend a valuable public service to the American people."

APTS is a nonprofit corporation whose members are the nationâs public television stations. It represents stationsâ interests before Congress, the FCC, the Departments of Commerce and Education, and other federal agencies. APTS also provides planning, research and communications support to member stations.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org.

Time Warner Cable owns and manages the worldâs most advanced, best clustered cable television operations, with 90 percent of its 12.6 million customers in systems of 100,000 subscribers or more. It is a division of Time Warner Entertainment.


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Dara Goldberg

Nancy Neubauer

Mike Luftman
Time Warner Cable