NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke said he expects retransmission consent revenue at its flagship NBC broadcast network will rise to $200 million in 2013 and should begin to close the monetization gap with its peers over the next several years.
Burke, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Entertainment and Communications conference in Los Angeles Wednesday, said in terms of profitability, NBC currently is between $500 million and $1 billion behind its broadcast peers CBS, Fox and ABC. He added that retrans revenue - up from virtually $0 about two years ago - coupled with higher CPMs for advertising once ratings improve, should go a long way toward closing that gap.
Retrans has been a hot button issue for both broadcasters and distributors - the industry just weathered a month-long blackout of CBS stations in New York , Los Angeles and Dallas to Time Warner cable customers. Burke acknowledged that higher retrans fees probably won't be too good for Comcast Cable, NBCU's parent and the largest distributor in the country, but added that it has become an inevitability.