On the heels of its announcement that it would buy in the
rest of the NBCUniversal it did not already own, networks chief Steve Burke
told analysts Wednesday that affiliate fees and retrans charges will rise at
On a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth quarter
results, Burke said that one of the top priorities for his division -- which
includes cable networks like USA Network, Bravo and Syfy as well as the NBC
broadcast network and about 24 NBC and Telemundo broadcast stations -- is to
close the "monetization gap" between affiliate fees and ad revenue at NBCU
properties and their peers.
"Our affiliate fees are not what they should be, both in
terms of the cable channels and retransmission consent" Burke said on the call.
"On the advertising side, our CPMs are lower than some of the other people in
the business who have lower ratings than we do. The broadcast business continues
to seem like a big opportunity to us, whether it's the NBC network, our local
stations or Telemundo. I think all three of those represent a big opportunity."
NBC has particularly lagged on the retransmission consent
side, according to analysts who have said the stations only started asking for
cash for retransmission consent in recent years. They agree that could be a
growing source of revenue going forward.