NBC, affiliates unveil retrans proxy framework (audio)


Brian Lawlor:

At the 5/16 affiliate board meeting in NYC (which coincided the NBC upfront presentation), NBC, NBC affiliates board chairman Brian Lawlor and affiliates unveiled the framework of a groundbreaking new deal that would have the network handle retransmission consent negotiations with MSOs on behalf of its affiliates. The proxy arrangement would be optional for affiliates, and those that opt in would hand over proxy rights to retrans negotiations to the network.

Lawlor told RBR-TVBR about the new network-affiliate model, a bit about his take on the upfront presentation and positives that Comcast has brought to the table so far (listen to the audio, above).

None of the other major networks have a blanket retrans deal with affiliates. In fact, Fox announced it was parting ways with affiliates in Boise and Evansville, IN, which was due to retrans negotiations gone bad. Fox is demanding affiliates come up with specific payment amounts per pay-TV subscriber, which increase each year. On the other hand, NBC wants a percentage of affiliates’ retrans earnings, as opposed to demanding a particular dollar amount per subscriber.

NBC said there would need to be around 80% buy in from the affiliates for the proxy concept to work.

No word on what percentage of stations’ retrans revenue would go to NBC, but that percentage will likely be similar across the board.

RBR-TVBR observation: This looks to be a true partnership. The network isn’t extracting money from affiliates that isn’t there; the affiliates are partnering with the network, providing unified critical mass in negotiations with the MSOs and it saves time and effort. We won’t even mention how easy it will be to get retrans deals done with Comcast if it gets the thumbs up by enough affiliates.