1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

ABC asking for share of retransmission fees

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by phrelin, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,104
    330
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    While this is not a surprise, it is now out there on the table. According to a report by NewsCheckMedia:
    Belo owns stations in 15 markets which include among them affiliates with every one of the six major commercial English language broadcast networks and includes the ABC affiliate in 4 DMA's.

    It was known that this was going to be happening as affiliates faced contract renewals. And it will, then, result in higher retransmission fee demands when the local stations negotiate with cable and satellite carriers. Which will then result in higher charges from your satellite or cable company.

    The irony here is that the locals are, at best, marginally profitable and the average station is losing money while ABC's owner Disney is siphoning off viewers to its profitable cable channels ESPN (all of them) and The Disney Channel. And now I think I'll watch "V" on ABC's web site where there won't be any local ads....:rolleyes:

    Oh, and ABC is the only one of the four largest broadcast networks to have reduced viewership this year - down 6% from last fall.
     
  2. redfiver

    redfiver DBSTalk Club Member

    561
    0
    Nov 18, 2006
    I think it makes sense that ABC is asking for a share of that revenue. Afterall, the affiliate is paying ABC for content to show over the air. The affiliate is then getting money from cable/satellite to retransmit ABC's content. Sure, there is plenty of local only content on there that ABC doesn't have rights over, but they should have rights over their portion of the content.
     
  3. bicker1

    bicker1 Hall Of Fame

    1,040
    0
    Oct 21, 2007
    A lot of that might be viscerally satisfying things for local station advocates to mention, but none of it really is relevant to the retransmission fee situation. The issue is best demonstrated by a situation like Carlos Beltrán of the New York Mets (Major League Baseball). He demanded close to $20 million. Why? What did he do that warranted giving him so much of the money that the Mets earned? He does help attract fans to watch the games. And that's the point... money flows to where the value is actually built. The local stations don't really offer as much as they're demanding in retransmission fees. Rather, they're demanding retransmission fees based on the value that they deliver but much of that value comes from what the network provides to the affiliate. The sharing of that fee reflects that.
     
  4. bicker1

    bicker1 Hall Of Fame

    1,040
    0
    Oct 21, 2007
    Update on the Retransmission Fee situation:
    http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/2010/05/fcc-unlikely-to-regulate-retra.php
     
  5. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,104
    330
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    Thanks for bringing this thread up. I forgot it existed.

    I read the LA Times article yesterday.

    Needless to say, the mandating a shift to digital which in many cases reduces the OTA reach of the local stations makes more and more people dependent on cable or satellite for any TV signal.

    The following two statements indicate that FCC members no longer believe (or remember???) in the access-without-charge principle that was the foundation of the broadcast station's license:
    Basically, for FCC purposes a broadcast television license is now similar to an amateur radio operator license - a means to keep radio bandwidth use organized.

    It probably makes sense, but from an old guy's viewpoint, it marks the end of an era.
     
  6. bicker1

    bicker1 Hall Of Fame

    1,040
    0
    Oct 21, 2007
    Could you please provide a reference for the origination of this "access-without-charge principle" you referred to, as it applies to cable television carriage?
     
  7. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    15,104
    330
    Jan 18, 2007
    Northern...
    Didn't notice this until now.

    Radio and TV back in the days of vacuum tubes and Hoffman TV sets were free to anyone who could receive the signal. There were very significant public benefit rules attached to anyone who held an FCC license and no one paid to get the signal. Even today, no one pays to get the signal off-the-air though public benefit requirements are comparatively non-existent.

    In the late 1940's Community Antenna Television began in Pennsylvania in areas where over-the-air reception was limited by distance from transmitters or mountainous terrain. Large "community antennas" were constructed and cable was run from them to individual homes. No one ever thought anything other than it was a major benefit to the advertising-supported stations to be brought into homes they could not otherwise reach.

    That was a different era, at the beginning of TV displacing other forms of home entertainment. None of that fits into the current context of commercial cable and satellite systems (literally even selling commercial time within cable shows themselves). Many broadcast TV stations, even major network affiliates, are not financially viable at this time. NBCU makes significant money on cable channels which weren't even in the picture back then. No one could watch last night's episode of "Father Knows Best" starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt on their computer via internet from the HULU website.
     
  8. bicker1

    bicker1 Hall Of Fame

    1,040
    0
    Oct 21, 2007
    Essentially, what you're saying is that there is no "access-without-charge principle". That rather it was just the way things were several decades ago, sort of like being able throw your old televisions out in the regular trash, instead of having to pay the town, or someone else, to dispose of it for you.

    (Guess what I'm doing today?)
     

Share This Page