NBCU looking for big bucks from retrans


While paying retransmission consent fees to broadcasters in the past may not have been welcomed by Comcast, now that it owns a broadcast network the guy heading the content business, NBCUniversal, says it is “a very good thing” for NBCU. Steve Burke told a BofA Merrill Lynch conference Wednesday (9/14) that he expects big money to come from retrans to NBCU.

Combining the direct retrans paid to the NBC/Telemundo O&Os and the portion the networks receive from their affiliates, the NBCU CEO said retrans could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars for NBCU. 

What’s different now at NBCUniversal under Comcast ownership? “A theme throughout Mr. Burke’s presentation was that the company believes GE did not invest enough in these businesses and most NBCU segments could greatly benefit from increased investment. However, we believe the incremental investment discussed is not significantly greater than has been previously stated,” said Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker in a note to clients after listening to Burke at her competitor’s conference.

NBCU has also changed how it relates to its broadcast station affiliates with a groundbreaking proposal to handle group negotiations with MSOs and satellite TV companies for retrans payments. “Management gave some insight to its reverse compensation coalition plans stating that it would guarantee the broadcasters $0.25 and then split the upside that the network is able to procure from MVPDs by negotiating as an entire network,” Ryvicker said.