NBCU distribution executives met with FCC and Justice Department
staffers jointly last week to pitch the importance of retrans fees and other distribution
dollars to its investment in news and entertainment programming, saying the
broadcast TV business is not sustainable on ads alone.
According to a just-filed ex parte notice, Henry Ahn, EVP, TV
networks distribution for NBC Universal, was making the pitch as part of a
discussion of content-distribution issues related to Comcast's proposed joint
venture with GE to invest in and run NBCU.
According to the filing, Ahn talked about the importance of
cable's dual sub fee/ad dollar model for the cable nets, and said that given
the "ongoing erosion" of broadcast TV audiences, an advertising-only
model is "unsustainable." He told the FCC and Justice that it was a
requirement that stations develop new revenue streams, "particularly from
retransmission consent fees."
in the meeting with FCC staffers and one Justice Department staffer were Jodi
Brenner, SVP, business and legal affairs, and Margaret Tobey, VP of regulatory
affairs at NBCU.
Aug. 19 meeting came as the FCC was collecting final public comments on the deal.