The FCC's March 31 order banning a market's leading top broadcast stations from jointly negotiating retrans deals was a big win for pay-TV providers to slow the growth of rising retrans fees, according to SNL Kagan. While higher retrans costs have added to MVPDs' programming expense, SNL Kagan said those fees amounted to just 8.9% of what MVPDs paid to basic cable nets and regional sports nets in 2013, a figure expected to rise to nearly 13% by 2017. — TV ad revenue was up 21.2% YOY in 1Q thanks to increased ad buy from automakers and pharmaceutical companies, according to research firm Standard Media Index. Cable ad revenue was up 21% in the quarter versus broadcast's 24% growth. In March alone, cable was up 18% YOY while broadcast was up 12%. Cable nets with the strongest growth in the quarter were AMC, BET and History.

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Sinclair Snags NHL Deal

With Sinclair on a mission to shore up a DTC streaming service, the company said it has reached a multi-year renewal with the NHL that includes the right for Bally Sports RSNs to stream live games on an

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