Nexstar Broadcasting CEO Perry Sook is not averse to sharing retrans revenue with the networks, but only if they bring something to the table. “I don’t understand why the networks would feel that they are entitled to a piece of a revenue stream that we developed and they did not have a hand in negotiating, documenting or collecting,” he said.
Nexstar Broadcasting CEO Perry Sook this morning reiterated remarks he made in September at TVB’s Forecast Conference that Nexstar would share retransmission consent revenue with the broadcast networks, but only if they helped get it from cable and satellite operators and if it is incremental to what Nexstar is getting on its own.
“I don’t understand why the networks would feel that they are entitled to a piece of a revenue stream that we developed and they did not have a hand in negotiating, documenting or collecting,” he said in Nexstar’s third-quarter earnings conference call.
Sook cited cable systems in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., and St. Joseph, Mo., that import network O&Os or affiliates from outside the market, but still pay Nexstar to carry its local signals with the same affiliations.
“With all due respect to my friends at the networks, I contend that the network programming is not the main reason that we are receiving compensation. It’s our local programming.”
But, he said, he would be willing to consider a split under certain circumstances. “If the networks are able to negotiate better deals on behalf of all the affiliates and their O&Os than I am able to negotiate as a small company, then I would be willing to share that upside on a 50-50 basis.”
Otherwise, he said, Nexstar will keep a tight grip on the cash, which amounted to around $31 million in 2009 and should grow to $35 million next year.
“We will fight just as hard to keep that retrans revenue as we did to create it in the first place.”
Sook pointed out that he had not had any direct conversations with the networks about retrans because none of Nexstar’s affiliation agreements were up for renewal this year.