How Retrans Decision Bodes Well for O&O’s

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FCCTelevision broadcasters received good news when FCC Chairman Wheeler blogged that the commission has completed its review of the retransmission consent process, and concluded no new rules are needed. The decision was a big win for the NAB.


Retransmission consent fees have turned out to be good revenue streams for television owners. In fact, Nexstar chair/CEO Perry Sook told an industry conference on Thursday retrans is more than “alternative” funding for the company, but rather one of four sources of dependable income. The others are political advertising in certain years, broadcast ads and digital ads.

NAB applauded the decision. SVP Communications Dennis Wharton agreed with the chairman that “the vast majority of these negotiations are successfully concluded without incident or impasse. Broadcasters remain fully committed to reaching agreements with pay TV companies in good faith so that consumers can continue to receive our high-quality local content whether over the air or through a pay TV service.”

At least one television analyst agrees it’s good for the industry. Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker says Wheeler is clear the commission “is not turning a blind eye to disputes, in fact, our interpretation is that the FCC will intervene on a case-by-case basis as it has with TRCO and Dish.”

She interprets Wheeler’s statement as essentially saying “that the current ‘totality of circumstances’’ test is enough to govern good faith negotiations for retransmission consent” in a client report.

The statements “remove some uncertainty” for the stocks of broadcast O&O’s.