Fox switches affiliates in two markets


Fox has been playing hardball with affiliates over reverse compensation as stations seek retransmission consent payments from cable and satellite operators. That’s now led to Fox switching affiliates in two markets.

First, in Evansville, IN, Fox is moving from Nexstar’s WTVW-TV to a digital channel of ComCorp’s WEVV-TV (CBS). Just a few hours earlier in his quarterly Wall Street conference call Nexstar CEO Perry Sook had indicated that negotiations with Fox were ongoing for his company’s affiliates, but gave no indication that any break was imminent. The change will take place July 1. The Fox affiliation agreement for WTVW had expired last June.

“We look forward to continuing to build the Fox franchise in Evansville on WEVV-TV D2,” declared ComCorp President and CEO Steve Pruett. Evansville is DMA #103.

In Boise, ID Fox is leaving Block Communications’ KTRV-TV. Journal Broadcast Group’s KNIN-TV will become a primary Fox affiliate, effective September 1st, displacing The CW. Journal also owns KIVI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Boise. The Fox affiliation for KTRV expired last August and KNIN’s CW affiliation will expire this summer.

“Fox is a terrific partner for us in our other markets. We are confident their success will continue as they provide a tremendous combination of entertainment and sports programming,” said Steven Smith, CEO of Journal Broadcast Group’s publicly traded parent company, Journal Communications. Boise is DMA #113.

Exactly how much Fox is demanding from affiliates in those markets is a closely guarded secret, but rumors have circulated that the general number for the top 125 markets is 25 cents per subscriber now, doubling to 50 cents in a few years. That would be half of what the network O&Os and other large station groups are seeking in retransmission consent payments. The problem for the station owners is that they have to agree to the network payments regardless of whether they are able to hit the retrans target on the other side.

RBR-TVBR observation: Perry Sook was the man that took the fight for all TV to get the retransmission compensation and won. Now the next fight is protecting that compensation from the buzzards circling over head – the networks. RBR-TVBR will expand on this later.

Remember: “Content is King but Only when one Controls the Content.” Think about it!