NBC affiliates board chairman Brian Lawlor described
NBC's new blanket retrans negotiation deal with affiliates, which involved
getting their proxies as a one of a kind arrangement and "a brand new kind
Perhaps in the details, but a network getting station
proxies and negotiating retrans collectively is not new, according to one top
Fox station official familiar with the first round of retrans negotiations in
1993. While Fox was unsuccessful in lining up a blanket deal with affils a few
months back, it succeeded back in 1993.
"In the very first round of retrans negotiations in
1993, I secured proxies from every Fox Affiliate and Fox negotiated the
retrans deals on behalf of every affiliate," says Preston Padden, who was
president of network distribution for Fox Broadcasting at the time. Padden
is now a senior fellow at the University of Colorado's Silicon Flatirons Center
for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
One thing that makes the NBC deal 'new' is that it involves stations getting together who had been negotiating individual cash deals, rather than back in 1993, where compensation from cable was in the form of ad avails or carriage of co-owned cable channels, which the networks were using the retrans system to grow rather than demand cash.
Today, those cable nets have taken root, and broadcasters are instead looking for a piece of the kind of dual revenue stream of fees and advertisments that have driven the success of nets like Disney's ESPN and NBC USA Network.