After relations between the network and its affiliates grew increasingly contentious, thanks largely to programming fee demands from Fox, the network and the stations are trying to get the relationship back on track, beginning with a meeting this week in Los Angeles.
Fox And Affils Move To Bury The Hatchet
It’s been a rough year for Fox and its affiliates. Their relationship was strained by Fox’s imposition of hefty new programming fees, its way of getting a share of the affiliates’ mounting retrans revenue.
But with most affiliates now grudgingly accepting the fees, the network and affiliates are trying to get the relationship back on track and looking at how they can work more closely together.
To that end, at the suggestion of the affiliates, Fox hosted a day-long meeting with owners and top managers of the Fox affiliate groups on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Representatives of the networks and affiliates declared the meeting a success, at least in clearing the air.
Jon Hookstratten, EVP of Fox Networks Distribution, said the discussion was about everything but the programming fees. “We talked about where we are going over the next five years and how the stations are going to be involved in that.”
Brian Brady, chairman of the Fox affiliate board and the loudest critic of the programming fees, called the meeting “very positive…. I think the owners embraced modernizing the broadcast business model and all look forward to profitably growing the partnership.”
Neither Hookstratten nor Brady would discuss what was said at the meeting or whether any new network-affiliate initiatives are planned.
By Hookstratten’s count, 57 of the 80 broadcast companies with Fox affiliates were represented at the event. Fox brought in all its top brass, including CEO Chase Carey.
Also making presentations or sitting on panels were Mike Hopkins, president, Fox Networks Distribution; General Counsel Rita Tuzon; Maureen O’Connell, SVP, regulatory and government affairs, News Corp.; Peter Rice, chairman, entertainment, Fox Networks Group; Kevin Reilly, president, entertainment, Fox Broadcasting; Joe Earley, president, marketing, Fox Broadcasting; Preston Beckman, EVP, strategic program planning, Fox Broadcasting; Eric Shanks, president, Fox Sports Media Group; Randy Freer, president, Fox Sports Media Group; David Hill, chairman and CEO, Fox Sports Media Group.
According to Brady, among the affiliate 57 were Nils Larsen, Tribune; Colleen Brown, Fisher Communications; Peter Diaz, Belo; Chris Cornelius, Barrington Broadcasting; Perry Sook, Nexstar Broadcasting, Sandy DiPasquale, Newport Television and Steve Pruett, CCA.