There's some apparent bad news on the broadcast retransmission fee front. News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Fox Network, a group that's unabashedly enamored with getting as much money as possible for retransmitting its content, is now asking its local affiliates to dig a little deeper and contribute a little more of the retransmission fees they're getting from cable, telco and satellite providers. If they don't pay up, they may be dropped from the Fox rolls.
"I don't think they're bluffing," Needham & Co. analyst Lara Martin said, pointing to rancorous retrans negotiations between Fox and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI)--not to mention Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC).
Another programming group, Belo, has admitted that it's got a new affiliation agreement with ABC to pay for programming and that three of its five CBS affiliates also are ponying up.
Finally, Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI), a name renowned for its recent tiff with Time Warner Cable, posted 23.5 percent higher broadcast revenues in the fourth quarter, including local broadcast revenues up 18.9 percent thanks, among other things, to "retransmission revenues," the company said in a news release.
Retransmission watch: Q&A with Matt Polka, president-CEO, American Cable Association
Retransmission fees pay off for News Corp. in fiscal 1Q
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