Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Nexstar Stands Firm on Retrans Fees

Source: TV Week Nexstar Communications Chairman Perry Sook said Wednesday he isn't budging on his stance against cable operators carrying his stations' signals without paying a retransmission fee. He also indicated more cable operators could lose Nexstar stations unless they agree to pay a monthly per-subscriber fee.

Mr. Sook and Nexstar are currently locked in a pitched battle with Cox Communications and Cable One over Nexstar's demand that the cable operators pay Nexstar a monthly per-sub fee of between 25 cents and 30 cents to carry Nexstar's local network-affiliated stations in Joplin, Mo., and Texarkana, Abilene and San Angelo, Texas. Those cable operators refused to pay, and Nexstar pulled the channels from Cox's and Cable One's lineups. (The company does receive carriage compensation from the two major satellite operators.)

Others could follow.

Mr. Sook, during a conference call to discuss the company's first-quarter results, said that a "substantial amount of [cable carriage] agreements" expire at the end of 2005 or in early 2006, and that while "the dynamics [of each market] will be taken into account market by market," he isn't backing down from his demand that cable operators pay broadcasters to carry their signals.

Mr. Sook noted that he was encouraged by comments by Viacom co-President and co-Chief Operating Officer Leslie Moonves, who last month floated the idea that his CBS and UPN stations might one day also demand payment from cable operators to carry signals from Viacom's owned-and-operated stations.

According to Mr. Sook, the advertising impact of the standoff between Nexstar and cable operators has been minimal, with a number of initially skittish advertisers returning to the Nexstar stations after the release of February ratings data, which he said showed that the stations have not been hurt significantly by the lack of cable carriage.

However, the retrans issue loomed over Nexstar's decision not to sign up for NBC Weather Plus, the 24-hour weather channel developed as a 50-50 joint venture between NBC Universal and NBC affiliates. Mr. Sook said that because NBCU's business plan did not include being paid a sub fee, he wasn't keen on bringing the channel to his stations.

DCG Comments: you think KARK could get into the play of asking for a retrans fee from cable subscribers? The next year or so could prove to be an interesting one.


At 8:08 AM, May 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you imagine if KARK started demanding this? It would hurt their already low ratings, that and with no AP this year could be the nail in the coffin.

At 8:28 AM, May 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They;ll demand it and get it. I can jsut see the ads now....You love ER but Comcast doesn't want you to be able to see it. Call Comcast Cable now and tell them you want to be able to watch ER.

They'll do it with every hit show they have. The Apprentice with Martha Stewart, Joey, Will and Grace and coming soon Sunday Night Football.

What you fail to understand is that KARK's programming is a lot more then just News.

At 9:45 AM, May 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, how will this impact KARK ???

At 11:09 AM, May 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will effect Comcast more. Comcast will have to start paying KARK a fee for every subscriber they have. Lets make the math easy. If Comcast has 50,000 subscribers and KARK asks for $0.05 per subscriber per month then KARK will get $2,500 a month. These numbers are just speculative. I have no idea how much KARK is seeking this just some easy math. Once KARK does it KATV and KTHV will follow.

KARK, KATV, KTHV, KLRT, and all the rest already get a monthly fee from Direct TV and the Dish Network. That's why you pay about $5 a month to get teh locals on the dish.

Most cable channels already charge a persub fee. that's why you have different tiers. Whether you watch the channel or not you're paying a monthly fee for it. Many groups are asking for cable to offer ala cart pricing. Where you only get and pay for the channels you watch.

At 7:20 PM, May 07, 2005, Blogger DCG said...

I am in a very unique position here in Southwest Arkansas as my cable system carries both KTAL and KARK, both NBC affiliates. If Nexstar should demand a per-sub fee and my cable company resists I would eventually lose both KARK and KTAL.

You ought have seen the ads when cable on in Texarkana refused to pay KTAL and dropped it. Nexstar flooded it's airwaves with dish network and direct tv commercials. It also bought time on the are radio stations.

In a way I see Nexstar's position but I also see the cable company's. The real loser in it all is the consumer.


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