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NBCUniversal, Cable ONE contract battle could reach Rio Rancho

NBCUniversal is warning viewers who subscribe to Cable ONE — which serves Rio Rancho and Roswell — that they could lose access to several networks if the media company and cable provider fail to negotiate a new contract.

The present contract runs through Dec. 31.

NBCUniversal has begun running crawl messages on its networks to alert customers to the potential loss of programming and to urge them to call Cable ONE, but a spokeswoman for Phoenix-based Cable ONE told the Journal on Thursday that the threat seems premature since the companies are still negotiating.

“There’s no sense that things weren’t going well,” said Trish Niemann, director of public relations at Cable ONE. “As far as we’re concerned, we’re going to get this deal done and we’ll all move on. It’s always our goal to do that and not disrupt our customers’ service.”

Cable ONE has about 5,100 video subscribers in Rio Rancho, and just over 12,000 total statewide.

NBCUniversal says Cable ONE subscribers could lose USA, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, Sprout, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, mun2, and, in some areas, Telemundo and NBC.

NBCUniversal alleges in a statement that Cable ONE is eschewing rates that “have been widely accepted by hundreds of other (programming distributors)” and that Cable ONE is trying to receive programming at “below market rates.”

Niemann, meanwhile, argues that NBCUniversal is seeking a new contract at more than double the rate of the existing deal.

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