Forecast: TV Retrans Dollars To $3.6B By 2017


TV stations' new retrans revenues will more than double in six years -- as their TV networks look to grab more of those monthly fees.  

Media research company SNL Kagan says total TV retrans dollars will rise to $3.61 billion in 2017 from a $1.14 billion total in 2010. This will occur in the midst of a slowdown of multichannel subscribers in the coming years at local cable systems, satellite and telco video companies.

Looking more near-term, SNL Kagan says retrans fees will rise 28% by the end of 2011, to $1.46 billion from $1.14 billion. Cable operators will continue to pay the most to TV stations -- $824 million -- while satellite video distributors will shell out $484.2 million and telco TV companies will give $147.1 million.

Although TV stations' monthly fees will continue to grow, existing cable networks will still command the lion's share of all monthly subscribers' fees from video operators.



For example, SNL Kagan notes that in 2011, the biggest monthly fees were paid to ESPN/ESPN HD, getting $4.76 per average sub per month. Many other established and broad-base cable networks can receive $1.00 to $3.00 per subscriber per month, according to other estimates.

Currently, network owned-and-operated stations are averaging around $0.75 a subscriber per month, according to SNL Kagan. Estimates are that TV networks want anywhere from a 33% to a 50% share of these TV station revenues in the coming years.

Overall, SNL Kagan sees a slowdown of multichannel subscribers as U.S. TV consumers move to over-the-top TV, Internet and other digital video options in the coming years.

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