Stagnant broadcast industry growth could lead to trouble for cable

Here's yet another reason that something probably has to be done about retransmission consent--and soon. The latest word is that the money types on Wall Street are looking at broadcasting and not seeing "many signs of sustainable long-term growth." This is both on a national and local level.

According to a Seeking Alpha article, current retrans agreements "are evidence that broadcasters are underpaid for their audience delivery." That's not good news for a cable industry where programming costs are already pushing operators to raise rates. It's also not good news as broadcasting behemoths like Disney (with its ABC franchise) and cable giants like Time Warner Cable dig in for what promises to be another ugly fight with the viewer in the middle.

Broadcasters, it seems, are lodged in the middle of a tight squeeze. On the one side, they control about 99 percent of the video that viewers are increasingly finding in non-traditional areas like the Internet and connected devices. On the other, they're not really being compensated by these viewers.

There is, of course, the possibility that the broadcasters might just innovate their way out of this financial conundrum. Discounting the fact that innovation seems anathema to the industry, there are signs that it's gaining a foothold. Broadcasters have aligned to push mobile digital TV as a new revenue possibility and Capitol Broadcasting's always-exciting WRAL in Raleigh has become the first station to offer an interactive TV widget to let viewers with broadband connected TVs access its news, weather and sports sources with a remote control.

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