CBS TV Distribution Sues Global Broadcasting For $5 Million
Global's WLNE Providence airs five CTD shows
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/17/2009 11:39:51 AM
CBS Television Distribution is suing Global Broadcasting, owner of WLNE Providence, for failing to pay nearly $2.2 million in license fees on such CTD-distributed shows as Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, Rachael Ray, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight.
According to the complaint, filed Monday at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Global and WLNE has only paid $682,023.50 of the $2,852,564.00 that the company owes on the five syndicated programs.
"There is no excuse or explanation for Global's failure and refusal to pay the amount owed under the Agreements, particularly since Global continued to reap the benefits of the Agreements by airing the programs," states the complaint.
On Friday, June 5, WLNE announced that it would ceasing airing Dr. Phil, ET and Inside Edition as of June 28, and would replace those shows with Twentieth's Cristina's Court, Program Partners' Family Court and Disney-ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
CTD says that decision "anticipatorily" breaches the contract because it requires "Global to air the Programs during the contracted-for time period, and Global has no right to terminate the Agreements prior to their scheduled expirations."
Payment for the shows' full terms total an additional $2,786,461.00. With interest and attorneys' fees, CTD says Global now owes it nearly $5 million in unpaid current and future license fees. Moreover, removing the shows from the air also will deprive CTD of expected barter advertising revenue.
I think this dispute, regardless of it's eventual outcome, will force a "sea change" in television syndication.
What I see coming out of this is that syndicators will henceforth be forced to resort to distruibuting their shows on "100% barter", meaning that stations get the shows for free, but agree to air two or two-and-a-half minutes of commercial time in each episode sold by the producer or syndicator.
The idea of selling syndicated shows to stations for cash (whether first-run or off-network) may soon be dead.
Joseph Gallant - 6/18/2009 3:58:26 PM EDT
I wonder if this station group's financial problems are the beginning of a trend among broadcasters who are fighting slumping advertising revenue? Will CBS Distribution reduce licensing agreements in order to keep these shows on the air in markets that are financially challenged?
Greg Struss - 6/17/2009 8:05:47 PM EDT
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