Belo CEO Dunia Shive says that ABC, in affiliation renewal negotiations, is asking for a share of the station group’s growing retrans revenue to help pay for the network’s programming costs. “We expect to complete the [affiliation] agreements in a way that is manageable for the company and continues the good relationship we’ve had,” she says.
Belo Corp. CEO Dunia Shive says that ABC is asking for a share of the station group’s growing pot of retransmission consent dollars in ongoing affiliate renewal negotiations.
Call it reverse compensation or retrans sharing, Shive said during the company’s third-quarter conference call with securities analysts. “It’s really a mechanism for having the affiliates share in the cost of programming.”
Belo operates four ABC affiliates, including its flagship station in Dallas-Fort Worth (DMA 5), WFAA.
All the networks have been eyeing their affiliates’ retransmission consent revenue as it has grown sharply over the past three or four years.
The revenue comes from cable and satellite operators in exchange for broadcasters’ permission to carry or retransmit TV station signals.
Belo reported today that its retrans take amounted to $10.6 million in the third quarter, 7.5 percent of its total revenue for the quarter.
Shive declined to discuss details of the talks with ABC, except to say that the network was not asking for “100 percent” of Belo’s retrans revenue.
But she indicated that Belo will end up paying something to ABC. “It’s a negotiation…. We expect to complete the agreements in a way that is manageable for the company and continues the good relationship we’ve had.”
If Belo does agree to pay ABC, she said, the company will book the payments as a programming expense.