Dividing up the retransmission consent revenue pie has been cast by some as a battle between television networks and their affiliates. But in his quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts last week, Barrington Broadcasting Group CEO Jim Yager offered a very different view.
The veteran broadcaster was asked specifically whether he would be willing to have ABC negotiate with the MSOs on behalf of his company’s affiliates of that network. The analyst noted reports that ABC in particular has been proposing such an arrangement in its affiliation negotiations.
“Let me say that we have taken a position all the way on retrans that we are partners with the network – and if we can both benefit from very favorable retransmission negotiations, yes we’d like to enter into those kinds of discussions because it’s a win-win situation for both of us,” Yager replied. “We’ve never said no to working with the network on retrans. Obviously there are certain things that would have to be agreed to, but the answer is we’d be more than willing to work with them.”
So, is that where the affiliation agreements are going in the future?
“I wish I knew. I think it’s a way it could go, and I think with certain networks it’s the way it may well go. I’m not sure it will go that way with all networks. I don ‘t want to single anyone out, but it would be nice if it did go that way,” Yager told the analyst.
RBR-TVBR observation: Considering that Disney/ABC has already negotiated the highest fees in all of cable television for ESPN, it would appear to be a pretty good negotiator to have on your side.