TV networks and their affiliates are now in a dance over whether the networks will share in the new retransmission consent fees that local affiliates are collecting from cable MSOs. CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves made it clear in his quarterly conference call that he expects to claim a piece of that new pie.
“There will be a sharing of the retrans fees. Once again, it’s at the very early stages of that. You know, the realization that if they are getting retrans, which they will, they’re getting paid retrans because of the services that the network is providing. You know, the NFL, CSI and David Letterman, 60 Minutes, etc. So, we are working with our affiliates. Right now, most of them understand the situation and are talking to us about how we can do this in the best possible way together,” Moonves said in response to an analysts’ question.
Several TV company CEOs had said in recent Wall Street conference calls that ABC has been seeking a retrans cut in its current negotiations on affiliation renewals, but no one has said they’ve agreed to a sharing deal or indicated just how much the network is seeking.
RBR-TVBR observation: Everything is negotiable. No doubt there will be a lot of intense negotiations as the networks and their affiliates come to terms on affiliation renewals. In the end, it all depends on what leverage each side has in the negotiations.