NAB 2015

CBS All Access All-Consuming For Affiliates

The nascent OTT service took up most of Monday’s meeting between the network and the CBS Affiliate Advisory Board and is likely to be the topic of today’s special meeting of all the affils, who now have the contract language that calls for CBS to increase payments to participating affiliates as they reach various goals.

CBS’s All Access over-the-top streaming service is Topic A for CBS affiliate representatives attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas this week.

It was virtually the only topic discussed when the CBS Affiliate Advisory Board met with CBS executives on Monday, and it is the subject of a special meeting of all of the CBS affiliates in attendance at the NAB on Tuesday morning.

In fact, Monday’s board meeting dealt almost entirely with going over the talking points for Tuesday’s meeting, CBS Affiliate Board Chairman Michael Fiorile told TVNewsCheck.

“What they did was preview for the board what we’re going to cover tomorrow,” Fiorile said, referring to the CBS executives who were at the board meeting, among them: Elizabeth Tumulty, CBS president of affiliate relations, and Rebecca Dopp, SVP of distribution.

Fiorile said the goal of Tuesday’s meeting is to fully explain All Access and its implications for local TV to CBS affiliates who Fiorile said do not yet fully understand it, and to review the All Access agreement that the Affiliate Advisory Board has negotiated with CBS on behalf of the affiliates.

“There are still a lot of affiliates that don’t fully understand it,” Fiorile said after the board meeting on Monday. “We’re kind of steeped in it because we negotiated the agreement,” he said of the board. “So we know more about it than the average affiliate. Not everybody on the board was part of the negotiations, so some of them needed to get educated a little more [too].”


Whether or not they are fully up to speed on All Access and the affiliate agreement, affiliates are now in possession of the All Access contracts, Fiorile said. “They have the deal,” he said. “Contracts were sent to them. They have the documents. I think they’re pleased with it.”

The board is satisfied with the deal too, Fiorile said. “We’re happier than we would have been without a deal and, yeah, we’re pleased with the agreement.”

He confirmed reports that the deal calls for CBS to increase payments to participating affiliates as they reach various (and unspecified) goals. Earlier this month, TVNewsCheck reported that CBS affiliates will initially be paid 59 cents for each local All Access subscriber, with that fee rising to 69 cents and then 79 cents per sub when (or if) subscribers increase. CBS has set the price for All Access at $5.99 a month.

Fiorile said relations between CBS and its affiliates are strong. One reason is the continued vitality of CBS’s primetime lineup. But another reason is the agreement on All Access. “Partnering with them on this new venture helps,” Fiorile said.

With an agreement in place, Fiorile predicted that the pace of affiliate sign-ups will increase. “I think you’ll see a lot of affiliate buy-in over the next six months to a year for All Access,” he said, as stations crunch the numbers.

“It’s a question of economics,” he said. “Stations have to make an investment in Syncbak [an app that streams programming of stations while restricting reception to mobile devices within the stations’ markets]. So every station has to run its own numbers to see if it pays out,” Fiorile said.

CBS owns a minority stake in Syncbak.

Read TVNewscheck’s other NAB Show digital coverage here. Find our full convention coverage here.

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