Although negotiations between Charter Communications and NBCUniversal were said to be at an impasse Thursday, the companies agreed on Saturday to extend the deadline to reach a deal before NBC's networks -- which include the NBC broadcast network, E!, Bravo and Telemundo -- are blacked out for customers. The length of the extension was not announced, but both companies say they hope to reach a deal. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- After months of negotiation, NBCUniversal and Charter Spectrum still do not have a new deal for the cable operator to air NBC and the other networks it owns -- but they agreed to keep talking and prevent Charter customers from suffering from a blackout of several of the most popular cable networks in the country.
With no deal in sight, NBCUniversal did viewers of its networks a solid by extending the deadline by which Charter had to come to terms to keep them broadcasting to Charter customers after midnight on January 1, extending the negotiations despite declaring them at an impasse days earlier.
"Negotiations with Charter Spectrum for the NBCUniversal portfolio of networks have been extended. Thank you for your support," NBCUniversal said on DeliverMyShows.com, a website it created to keep viewers in the loop on negotiations, and later said in a statement to the press they plan to "negotiate in good faith" toward reaching a deal.
The two companies have been negotiating a new deal for months, and it is expected to be much more lucrative for NBCUniversal this time around because they are in far better shape now than six years ago when the just-expired deal was reached.
Negotiations were said to be at an impasse as of Thursday, but continued nonetheless for the next two days, ahead of the extension announcement. Details of the extension for negotiations was not released, but it came minutes before Charter customers' screens went black on NBC, Bravo, E!, USA and Telemundo, among others.
Both companies are in better shape now than when the last deal was put together, as NBC was in fourth place among the broadcast networks and Charter was a much smaller company.
Since then, NBC has clawed its way back up in the ratings, offering it a better vantage point for negotiations, and Charter spent $65.5 billion to buy Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to become the second largest cable provider in the U.S.