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Cablevision Blackout Leads to Huge Ratings Drop for WPIX-TV as Pressure Ratchets Up in Retrans Dispute MediaPost

A blackout on Cablevision's systems has led to a huge ratings drop for Tribune-owned WPIX-TV, the CW affiliate in the New York market, reports MediaPost's MediaDailyNews.

From Aug. 20-Sept. 23, the household ratings for WPIX's late newscast declined 42%, the story reports. WPIX has been blacked out in Cablevision's 3 million New York-area homes since Aug. 17, the story notes.

"With its lower news ratings, WPIX might be missing out on some of the political ad dollars being spent, notably by wealthy Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon. The FCC website indicates that WPIX has not landed a single dollar in political spending this season," the story reports.

The retrans dispute between Tribune and Cablevision, which extends a little beyond New York, remains unresolved. Now, with the CW getting its fall season going, the stakes are getting higher.

“Pressure on Cablevision from subscribers who want the CW shows could play a role in ending the standoff,” the report notes. “The CW can’t be happy, with its network unavailable in about 3% of the U.S. and off the air in the homes of all those advertising and media executives in New York.”

The report notes: “Tribune might have been able to gain some leverage with fan anger over missing WPIX’s broadcast of a New York Giants game this season. But Cablevision pulled an end-around offering all subscribers the NFL Network with the game -- and airing it on Channel 11, where WPIX usually resides.”