Dueling coalitions — the affiliate-led Coalition for Local News and O&O-led Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition — have raised the temperature on a long-simmering argument over who should be able to negotiate retransmission rights with vMVPDs. The growing size of the vMVPD revenue pot in an awful year for spot TV may have a lot to do with the timing.
The latest market-by-market review of TV stations from Bond & Pecaro and NAB forecasts that net ad revenue will jump from $15.9 billion to $17.9 billion, thanks in large part to Olympics and heavy political spending. That revenue will grow on a compound annual rate of 2.4% between now and 2018.
In dozens of markets, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are found on the digital subchannels of full-power stations. The Big Four-D2 affiliations work for the networks and they work for the stations, which might otherwise fill subchannels with second-tier broadcast networks like CW or MNT or one of the myriad start-up networks like ThisTV, LATV, RTN or TheCoolNetwork.
Battered by the most recent recession and the inexorable fragmentation of audience and advertising, TV broadcasting is not the giant it used to be, says Bond & Pecaro founder John Sanders, but the business has rebounded nicely in the past year or so (“The viability of the network affiliate business has been validated.”) Smart investors see the potential for new revenue streams on a base of solid, if unspectacular, advertising growth, he says.