It's the Most Contentious Time… Retrans Season Upon Us

Premium Content

Dec’s typically heavy docket of retrans disputes went on display Mon as Time Warner Cable and Cordillera Comm haggled over pricing for 4 Corpus Christi TV stations including NBC, CW and Telemundo affils and an indie station. At our deadline, TWC said talks are ongoing in an attempt to hammer out a deal before the midnight deadline. Cordillera said TWC has refused to agree to an extension through Dec 31, while the MSO said Cordillera wants a 400% hike over current prices and has threatened pull the station signals if a deal can’t be reached. On a positive note, TWC just forged a retrains deal with Saga Comm covering TX ABC affil KAVU-TV and says there are no other channels currently at risk within its footprint. The MSO and other ops, however, may face increased retrans demands going forward from CBS TV Stations, which announced Mon it has inked a definitive deal to acquire indie NY station WLNY-TV. The purchase would give the 28-station group a duopoly in the nation’s largest media market and augment duopolies in 9 others including L.A., Philadelphia and Boston. Perhaps telegraphing the negotiations that lie ahead, CBS Local Media COO Anton Guitano said the company looks forward to leveraging its NY area assets “to broaden the appeal of WLNY throughout the tri-state area and drive ratings and revenue growth.” Indeed, Moody‘s recently said it expects broadcasters to reap $3.6bln from pay TV ops in ’17, up from $1.2bln currently and driven in part by ramping reverse compensation demands of the Big 4 that must be offset. And SNL Kagan foresees a jump in retrans fees to $3.9bln by ’15, up from approx $500mln in ’08. At the UBS conference last week, Nexstar chmn Perry Sook said retrans demands of $1.50-$2.00/sub/month is a realistic goal for station groups, albeit noting that it might take at least 6 years to achieve. Earlier this month, DISH and Nexstar forged a retrans agreement covering 55 stations and related digital programming channels owned by Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting. Meanwhile, more potential retrans trouble is percolating and may come to a head later this month. Sinclair and Insight are careening toward an impasse come Dec 31, with Sinclair stations already warning Insight subs “based on the current status of negotiations we do not believe they will be carrying this station after that date.” Insight declined to comment Mon on the current tenor of talks. Hearst has a slew of retrans deals expiring at the end of the year with ops including Charter, Mediacom and AT&T.

Featured Stories

Featured Stories

Curated By Logo