But it’s a preliminary number. More cost estimates are expected from MVPDs and a small number of broadcasters that will push the total higher. Based on its own research, TVNewsCheck estimated in a Thursday story that the final tally would be at least $2.2 billion. Even at $2.1 billion, the expenses are $365 million short of what Congress has set aside to reimburse broadcasters and MVPDs affected by the repack. The FCC has pledged to help broadcasters in their campaign in Congress to increase reimbursement pool so it fully covers their expenses.
TV broadcasters and MVPDs say they will incur repack-related expenses of $2.1 billion, according to a primary tally released this afternoon by the FCC.
“Based on information we have received as of 7 a.m. today, the aggregate amount of the estimated costs reported by reimbursement-eligible entities is $2,115,328,744.33,” said Jean Kiddoo, chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force in a statement published on the agency website.
Based on its tally of about half the filing from stations, TVNewsCheck estimated that the stations’ repack expenses alone would be $2 billion.
Broadcasters moving to new channels in the repack and MVPDs were required to file their estimated costs by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
However, because of trouble with FCC online filing system on Wednesday, an FCC spokesman said Thursday they were accepting late filers.
In her statement today, Kiddoo said the agency expects more estimates to be submitted by MVPDs and “a small number of stations.” So, the final total will be something north of $2.1 billion.
Even at $2.1 billion, the estimated expenses exceed by $365 million the $1.75 billion that Congress has set aside to reimburse stations and MVPDs involved in the repack.
The release of the estimate should spur the broadcasters campaign in Congress to increase the reimburse fund.said she would be an ally in that cause.
In a statement, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said that he would be an ally in the cause.
“While Commission staff will need some time to analyze the particular submissions, if it turns out that legitimate expenses exceed the statutory limit, which is not unreasonable to assume at this time, I have always said that I would be the first to make the case to Congress for additional funds.”
In a statement, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith: “Congress’s passage of the voluntary broadcast TV incentive auction legislation was premised on a promise that no TV station would be punished for not participating in the auction. Today’s release of total estimated costs for the ‘TV repack’ shows a shortfall of over $365 million in available repacking funds, with a number of television stations and MVPDs not yet included in the total. That number could grow as stations amend cost estimates due to changed circumstances.”