The showdown between the Fox network and its affiliates has escalated, as a pair of letters to the affiliates body–from Fox president of sales and affiliate marketing Mike Hopkins, and from Fox affiliates board chairman Brian Brady–shows how far apart the two sides are on the issue of retrans.
TVNewsCheck says Fox will now negotiate retrans deals with individual stations and groups, as a blanket deal for the affils body has not been worked out.
Fox clearly feels many of its affiliates are not pushing hard enough on subscription TV operators for retransmission consent cash. Many on the affiliate side are grumbling that the network’s expectations for retrans, which of course Fox gets a piece of, are way off the mark.
From our perspective, the [negotiating] committee has been largely non-responsive to our views and unwilling to negotiate in good faith,” Hopkins says. “Rather than continue to waste time on fruitless arguments, we feel it is time to move on and negotiate an equitable and practical [retrans sharing] agreement with each of you.”
The affiliates board says the demands are too high, and calls on Fox to stop importing its network signal from a Fox affiliate outside the market when a Fox station goes dark due to retrans.
“We must demand that Fox come back to the negotiating table and negotiate a fair and equitable deal which will strengthen, not weaken, the network/affiliate relationship. If this does not work then we will have to reach out to the media, governmental and political allies and others to force the issue,” says chairman Brian Brady, who is of course involved in a separate retrans clash as CEO of Northwest Broadcasting.
“This is a fight for survival; we can either stand and fight together or we may die apart.”