Boy, were the broadcast CEOs bullish on retrans at the Deutsche Bank Media Conference this morning, as fees collected from the cable, telco and satellite companies are emerging as broadcasters’ lifeblood these days. LIN TV’s Vince Sadusky told the crowd assembled at the Palace Hotel that HD programming was what "changed the paradigm" in terms of extracting cash from distribution partners. "Now there’s quite a bit of leverage," said Sadusky, who added that LIN was in the process of wrapping up its final handful of contracts, including the sticky wicket with Charter. (Just yesterday, LIN and DirecTV shook hands on a retrans deal covering 25 LIN outlets.)
Gray’s Bob Prather said his stations outNielsened all the cable channels combined in some markets. "Why shouldn’t we get paid?" he wondered. "The bulk of our growth will be coming from retrans."
Finally, Nexstar’s Perry Sook, an early agitator in the retrans wars, said the fight was getting much easier now that so many broadcasters have joined forces. "We were by ourselves in 2005, but now others are standing up for what we are worth," he said. "The conversation becomes not if [we get paid] but how much."