Mike Biard, Executive VP, Affiliate Sales And Marketing, Fox Networks

Mike Biard negotiates deals for Fox much
like he races motorcycles: with calm, cool
and an all-out desire to
win. The most recent of
these deals was perhaps
his most important and high-profile: Biard
and his team led Fox’s efforts to craft
a lucrative retransmission consent deal
with Time Warner Cable for News Corp.’s
raft of broadcast and cable networks.

Mike BiardThat deal, considered an industry benchmark,
was signed on New Year’s Day 2010 and
was reported to be in the neighborhood of 50
to 75 cents per subscriber. It’s expected to be
worth hundreds of millions of dollars to News
Corp. alone, and sets a strong precedent for
other broadcasters as they go up against cable
operators in their own negotiations.

While those deals occasionally became contentious,
Biard says it helped that News Corp.’s
executive team “was resolute about what we
had to accomplish to start to recover more
proportional value for the entertainment we
were delivering. It’s an easy job when you have the full backing and resources of the company behind you.”

The Fox network is just one piece of Biard’s broad portfolio, which
includes 35 networks such as FX, Fox Movie
Channel, Big Ten Network, National Geographic
Channel, Speed, Fuel TV, 19 regional
sports networks, and the new Nat Geo Wild
and Fox Soccer Plus. Making the best deals for
all of those businesses can get challenging.

“You do your best to see around corners,”
Biard says. “You have to know that you aren’t
going to anticipate every single issue, but
that you will have enough future opportunities
that you will be able to go back to your
clients and deal. They can’t anticipate everything,
either; ultimately, our distributors need
us and we need them.”

Says Mike Hopkins, president of affiliate
sales and marketing for Fox Networks,
“Mike thinks about things critically and analytically,
and then he’s very patient. He works
constructively and creatively with the other
side until a deal is reached. And people like
working with him: He’s funny, engaging and