The fees that cable and satellite operators pay television stations have produced big revenues, and some disputes. Now, networks want a share of these fees.
While the network is making news over its “take-it-or-leave-it” stance in renewal talks demanding a cut of its affiliates’ retransmission consent revenue, there’s no shortage of stations ready, willing and anxious to get on board.
The group owner’s CEO Perry Sook says nothing has changed in negotiations over the network’s hard-line stance on sharing station retrans revenue.
Hopefully, the broadcast networks and their affiliates will use their various meetings at the NAB Show next week to reach some understanding on the contentious issue of retrans sharing. But if the networks and affiliates can’t get their act together soon, they should hire a “statesman” whom everyone respects to mediate, to remind both sides of their mutual interests and get them working together against cable and satellite and not against each other. But who? Who is this statesman or stateswoman who could save broadcasting from itself? I nominate NAB President Gordon Smith.
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.