At the meeting in Las Vegas the board tells the FCC commissioners its March 31 decision to crack down on joint sales agreements appeared to be “arbitrary and capricious.”
With the release of letters this week between the network’s Chase Carey and Affiliate Board Chairman Brian Brady on retrans sharing, the relationship is strained, to say the least. With Fox threatening to dump affils that don’t give it what it wants and the stations calling it a fight for their very survival, it’s time for both sides to take a step back. I don’t think Fox really wants to disrupt its distribution to 65% of the country. It’s made its point. Now, it’s time to give a little so that affiliates can more easily absorb what amounts to a hefty new cost, one that many really weren’t figuring on.
The network sent a letter to the individual affiliates saying it has made no progress negotiating a retrans sharing deal with the affiliate board. So now it wants to negotiate with the stations individually, adding that if a station doesn’t agree with its demands for a cut of their retrans dollars “Fox will have to pursue different distribution channels to receive fair value for our programming and continue to serve our viewers.” Affiliate board Chairman Brian Brady counters that Fox has failed to negotiate in good faith and is engaged in a “divide-and-conquer” strategy.