Thursday, May 19, 2011

NBC/affiliates look at Retrans/Consent

Retransmission/Consent rules allow broadcast television stations to seek payment from cable systems for the right to carry their signal and copyrighted content. In the first couple of rounds, stations weren't able to get much from cable systems, but in the last few rounds, they have be able to get cash payments in many cases.  This has been a boon for local stations, helping to replace the revenues lost as the major networks reduced their payments for program carriage  In recent years, networks have reversed the carriage arrangement, now asking for payments from affiliates in return for the right to transmit network programming. In addition, during the last round of negotiations, the networks started arguing that they should be getting a percentage of the retransmission fees, since it's their content that makes the station's signal valuable, .
At the recent NBC affiliate board meeting, that arrangement was solidified, with NBC announcing that it would act as proxy for its affiliated stations in negotiating with cable and satellite systems.  NBC would get a cut of the negotiated fees.  Affiliated stations would benefit from the greater bargaining power of a unified critical mass of stations, lower negotiation costs, and what would essentially be a guarantee that network carriage costs would not be greater than retransmission fee revenues.  Look for similar ideas to follow from other station affiliate groups and networks.

Source: "NBC, affiliates unveil retrans proxy framework," RBR/TVBR

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