Belo, the station group with NBC affiliates in Charlotte and Seattle, is expected to cut its first deal paying NBC for carriage rights by the end of the year. Like other networks, NBC
is looking to reap the benefits of the retransmission consent architecture that continues to take shape in the broadcast business by collecting dollars from affiliates.
Belo said on an investor call this week that its affiliation deal with NBC ends in 2012. It expects to be paying reverse compensation to NBC in 2013. The station group also has NBC affiliates in Portland and Boise, giving it three in the top-25 markets.
A station group garners carriage fees from cable/satellite/telco TV operators, and networks have been looking to grab a percentage. Belo has reached affiliation deals with ABC and CBS that has it paying the networks through 2014 and 2016, respectively.
For station groups, the game is to bring in more in payments from distributors than it sends onto networks. Belo CEO Dunia Shive said that the company has retrans consent deals expiring with four leading distributors by February 2014 and indicated those should bring in revenue increases.
Even with reverse compensation sapping some of that, she said retrans consent as a whole “will definitely be a net positive for us in terms of the retrans dollars we take in versus what we pay out. I think it will still be a very healthy margin.”