…you still have to get the content to the consumer. NBC, CBS and Fox have all sold stations from their O&O groups. Observing that News Corporation had put more than $1 billion in its till bys selling eight of its medium market Fox stations to Local TV LLC, one analyst asked Rupert Murdoch in his latest conference call whether he might put the entire O&O group up for sale. Murdoch explained that the large market O&Os were the “backbone” of the network and were definitely not for sale.
Last week analyst David Miller at Caris & Co., told clients that “We have reason to believe that Disney is heavily considering the notion of putting its 10 owned and operated television stations up for sale.” Such a move would get ABC out of the local station ownership business – having already sold off ABC Radio (except for its Radio Disney and ESPN Radio stations) – and make it purely a content company.
RBR/TVBR observation: We would note that NBC, CBS and Fox only sold stations in medium and small markets, such as Green Bay, Cleveland and Providence – the largest market being the pending sale of NBC’s ratings-challenged WTVJ-TV Miami to Post-Newsweek Stations. Sure, we could see Bob Iger selling the ABC O&O stations in Fresno, Flint, Toledo and even Raleigh-Durham. But let someone else control ABC’s distribution outlets to New York, Los Angeles and Chicago? We do not believe that he is an idiot.