Local TV becoming a hot property again: just ask Comcast

Even with 500 channels to watch, the ones that are again becoming the most attractive are the local channels coming over the air to a cable, satellite or telco provider near you. That's the latest insight from an industry that was left for dead on the side of the information superhighway (couldn't resist throwing in that old cliché). Now risen and gaining strength, local TV is making a comeback based, in no small part, on retransmission fees from cable TV and a renewed advertising space.

"This year (local television) is hitting on all cylinders," said Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations and general manager of WCBS in New York. None less than Brian Roberts, Comcast's president-CEO, agreed. Speaking at a brunch keynote last week at The Cable Show in Los Angeles, Roberts said that local TV is a reason for Comcast to acquire NBC Universal.

"The last two quarters local broadcast has really come back up," Roberts said, pointing to 20-25 percent increases in advertising revenues and the reality that "it seems clear that retransmission fees are going to be paid."

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