News Corporation’s Fox Television Network and representatives of the television groups with affiliates met in Los Angeles in order to move forward into the future. Left in the immediate past were the bruises and acrimony that accompanies a little hardball over the size of the affiliation fees Fox is now extracting from the groups.
According to reports, 57 out of 80 owners who have Fox affiliates in their portfolios were represented in a meeting that included a full slate of Fox network executives.
The topics of discussion have been kept carefully under wraps. What has come out of the meeting is a sense of partnership between the network and the owners, which involves putting aside differences that were totally tied to negotiations over Fox’s fees.
The network is widely considered to have been the most aggressive when it comes to charges to affiliates. It is no secret that the networks have been looking for a way to get a piece of the retransmission consent income broadcast groups have been working to collect from MVPDs.
Among the many television groups represented were Tribune, Fisher, Belo, Barrington and Newport. And let’s not forget Nexstar – Perry Sook was set to be in attendance. He is more battered and bruised than most, having refused to meet Fox’s bill and taking a couple of former Fox affiliates the indy route.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s good to hear that the network and its affiliates have agreed to work together – but when you get right down to it, what other choice do they have?
Some of the comments we read online, which seem to come from insiders, suggest that things are all Brady Bunch happy right now, but that it by no means is any reason to suggest that all parties will be locked arm-in-arm singing “Kumbaya” ad infinitum.
Rather, they believe that the next time an issue comes up, the gloves will come off, and the next round of hardball will get started. Stay tuned.