Paying broadcasters for retransmission is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, "on balance, it's a good thing," says Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. "The networks are going to try very hard to get some kind of material retransmission payment and they'll succeed to a certain extent."
Bewkes' comments reflect the dichotomy of the modern cable business. Time Warner carries broadcast and other programming as a service provider but also--as a programmer--delivers content whether as part of a paid premium service like HBO or basic programming from Turner Broadcasting. Some of that content eventually wends its way to broadcast networks who, in turn, might charge the cable operators for the right to carry it on their systems.
Meanwhile, broadcasters are still figuring out how to divvy up the retransmission money between affiliates and networks. The concept of networks wanting a piece of the retransmission pie is "not newsworthy" and "has been going on with networks and their affiliates for years," said Perry Sook, CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting Group and a man credited with initiating the first retransmission battles with cable.
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