Some 22,000 Click Network subscribers might well need to go elsewhere than KOMO to view Tuesdays Tournament of Roses Parade, Capital One Bowl and other programming.
Barring any last-minute agreement, six KOMO television stations were scheduled Monday to slip away from the publicly owned Click Network at the moment the New Year arrived.
The dispute between KOMO parent Fisher Communications and the Click Network, a subsidiary of Tacoma Power, centers on the fee Click pays to air six Fisher stations: KOMO, KOMO HD, KUNS, KUNS HD, This TV and MundoFox.
All will disappear from Click subscribers screens until ongoing negotiations are successful, said Click spokeswoman Diane Lachel on Monday.
A spokesman from Fisher Broadcasting was unavailable.
Subscribers of Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Charter and Wave Broadband are not affected, said a notice on the KOMO website.
Weve never been here before, Lachel said. This is new territory for Click. Were quite a ways apart. Our fiduciary responsibility is to keep our rates as low as possible. What Fisher was proposing was way out of line.
Lachel said Click had offered to increase its payment to Fisher by 6 percent over last years fee.
Fisher Communications saw significant revenue increases in 2012, yet its squeezing a small cable company by raising rates more than 200 percent in two years, said Click Network Manager Tenzin Gyaltsen in a news release Monday.
In its third-quarter financial filing, Fisher reported that overall retransmission revenue such as that paid by Click and other retransmitters increased 83 percent above the third quarter of 2011.
A year ago, Click reached three-year agreements with several other broadcasters. Difficult negotiations led to a one-year agreement with Fisher, Lachel said.
Negotiations with Fisher have been ongoing for months, she said.
The notice on the KOMO website explained that KOMO and This TV have carriage agreements with cable systems expiring on December 31, 2012. Despite good faith efforts, it appears we may be unable to reach agreement with at least one of them.
The notice advised that viewers please continue to monitor this page for updates.
There seemed little chance for a settlement before the KOMO and other Fisher channels went dark.
Lachel last communicated with her counterpart at KOMO at mid-afternoon Monday. There was no conciliatory offer of an extension of the current contract, she said. The communication simply said that various parties, including the networks, had been informed of the pending action.
We will continue to negotiate in good faith, Lachel said. Were really sorry. We apologize for any inconvenience. Were taking the hard line for our customers.
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535