NCTA says a retrans paper commissioned by CBS, NBCU, Disney and Fox misses the point. The paper, written by David Leach, an independent consultant who previously headed Rep John Dingell’s (D-MI) telecom staff, concluded that retrans costs aren’t driving up cable rates (Cfax, 7/19). The paper was in response to a previous FCC filing by the Coalition for Retransmission Consent Reform. NCTA told the FCC this week that the Coalition was rightfully noting that the FCC needs to consider the costs associated with all program services carried by the Big 4 broadcasters (ie, expanded basic cable net)—not just retrans consent broadcast stations. It says Leach focused on minimizing retrans costs to those attributable to broadcast carriage only. Leach estimated that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and Cablevision’s monthly retrans costs are 85 cents—a figure with which NCTA quibbles. — Sinclair estimates that ’07 revenue from retrans consent agreements will total $60.5mln, up 138% over last year’s $25.4mln. It projects the number will grow to about $66mln next year based on what’s currently under contract (that estimate doesn’t include the 10% of subs in markets for which there are no longer-term retrans pacts in place). The broadcaster has completed multi-year retrans agreements with video providers covering approx 90% of the subs in its markets. Sinclair saw a significant drop in 2Q profit, with net income totaling $2.2 mln vs $10.3mln a year ago. Weakness at My NetworkTV is partially to blame.

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