Beginning today, WISH-TV in Indianapolis no longer will be available to Comcast cable subscribers in Jackson and Jennings counties.
However, no change is planned for Comcast customers in Columbus. Company spokesman Rob Ponto emphasized that since Bartholomew County is closer to Indianapolis, WISH will continue to be considered as the prime CBS affiliate in the Columbus
Currently, customers of the cable company in both Jackson and Jennings counties are able to receive the Indianapolis station, along with CBS affiliate WLKY in Louisville, Ky.
“These stations have their own broadcast rings, and I think that largely determines what programming goes to what community,” Ponto said. “In this instance, what CBS station we provide is determined by the designated market area.”
The market area is a region where the population can receive types of media including newspapers and Internet content. In areas such as Jennings and Jackson counties, a designated market area usually is identified by its nearest metropolitan area. Both counties are considered part of the Louisville Designated Market Area.
According to a corporate statement, stations are being dropped in several communities where two affiliates air and carry virtually the same network content.
“WLKY will continue to carry the CBS content that viewers in Jennings and Jackson counties have had access to in the past and will continue to be able to view going forward,” Ponto said.
He added the decision is not expected to have an impact on subscription rates. However, Ponto did not specify what, if any, savings the corporation might receive by dropping stations with repetitive network programming.
A similar situation will occur later this month in the Lafayette area. Comcast has dropped WISH in its channel lineup for Tippecanoe County subscribers because WLFI in West Lafayette also is a CBS affiliate.
Comcast, which is the largest cable operator in the country, acquired a major financial stake in media conglomerate NBC Universal early last year.
The Philadelphia-based corporation, which also has significant holdings in several cable networks, also is considered the largest U.S. Internet provider and third-largest telephone service provider.
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