GCI waits for serious offer as FOX, ABC, CW negotiations continue
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – GCI has received a counteroffer from Coastal Television and Vision Alaska as part an ongoing contract negotiation over programming for ABC, FOX and the CW channels in Alaska. The counteroffer, submitted in response to GCI’s December 29, 2020 proposal, fell far short of expectations and will not advance the negotiations in a meaningful way.
“We were hoping to receive a meaningful counteroffer from Coastal Television and Vision Alaska so that we could make real progress in negotiations,” said GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside. “Unfortunately, yesterday’s proposal brings us no closer to resolution. We know our customers are frustrated and we are too—that’s why we started negotiations in July last year in the hopes of avoiding the very situation we find ourselves in right now.”
To the dismay of customers, the negotiations initiated by GCI in July 2020, stalled when Coastal Television and Vision Alaska refused to accept GCI’s December 29, 2020 proposal. As a result, thousands of Alaskans have temporarily lost cable access to some of their favorite programming on ABC, FOX, and CW.
Coastal Television and Vision Alaska insist on increasing their current fees by millions of dollars despite the rapidly declining viewership of their three channels. Broadcast stations, like Coastal Television and Vision Alaska, across the country are experiencing a similar challenge as viewers get more and more of their content—including local broadcast TV—online and over the air for free.
“We recognize that a declining audience is a challenge for Coastal Television and Vision Alaska but it isn’t reasonable to expect our customers to make up the difference for their losses,” said Handyside. “Coastal Television and Vision Alaska’s initial contract proposals were non-starters. Their counteroffer was equally unreasonable, and we can only hope that they will make a serious offer at some point so that we can resume programming. They’ve had months to figure this out.”
The contract negotiations, which GCI initiated in July 2020 in order to have ample time to reach consensus, stalled when Coastal Television and Vision Alaska proposed an almost 40% rate increase to GCI’s current programming contract. Their most recent counteroffer still hovers near the 40% increase threshold. In terms of value, the proposed increase represents millions of dollars of additional fees on top of GCI’s current multi-million-dollar contract.
GCI was forced to suspend programming on January 1, 2021 after the current contract for ABC, FOX, and CW Network programming expired. It is illegal for a cable company to carry programming without a contract. When it became apparent that a contract would not be completed and a channel blackout would occur in late December, GCI proposed an extension to allow programming to remain intact while negotiations continued. Coastal Television and Vision Alaska rejected the extension offer at which time GCI was forced to suspend content on the channels.
GCI offers customers more than 300 channel options and successfully negotiates broadcast contracts every year. Blackouts are extremely rare.
Customers who don’t want to miss their favorite programming during the blackout can visit https://www.gci.com/tv/negotiations for more information about how to access their favorite shows online or over the air including free promotions from other providers.
GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested substantially more than $3 billion in its Alaska network and facilities. Most recently, GCI launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area.
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI has delivered services for more than 40 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. GCI employs nearly 2,000 Alaskans. Learn more about GCI at http://www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of GCI Liberty, Inc. (Nasdaq: GLIBA, GLIBP). Learn more about GCI Liberty at http://www.gciliberty.com.