Perhaps Comcast will be able to navigate the increasingly choppy retrans waters better than most ops by virtue of its ownership of NBC, but Moody‘s echoed the sentiments of CBS boss Les Moonves and others in forecasting Tues a sharp future increase in retrans fees. Broadcasters, said the firm, are expected 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. For pure-play broadcasters, said Moody’s, “the near-term cash flow benefits of increased retransmission fees will disappear unless broadcasters can outpace reverse compensation by negotiating higher retransmission fees from pay-TV providers.” The importance of retrans rev to broadcasters is underscored by Moody’s estimate of just a 3% annual growth rate in the industry’s overall ad rev through ’17. Pay TV still holds a decent hand, though, as the Big 4 continue to adopt new content platforms and aren’t afraid to deal directly with ops. “These emerging options may increasingly call into question the value of a pure-play television broadcaster,” said Moody’s.