TV Model: Nets, Stations Split Retrans 50/50

Flatscreen-TV-AGray Television CFO Jim Ryan suggested that networks may capture more than half of an affiliate’s retrans consent dollars over time. Right now, he said, a 50/50 split is emerging as the model.

Affiliates are collecting carriage payments from cable, satellite and telco TV operators, and networks have been taking a cut in reverse compensation.

“There may be some temptation there to increase the share,” Ryan said. “A lot will depend on the overall pot, what the overall dollars are, and what the dollar split actually means to both sides. The networks also are sensitive to the fact that they want a strong affiliate body that has the ability to (operate) a strong No. 1 station … without that, it ultimately hurts the network.”

Gray’s affiliation agreements with ABC, Fox and CBS are due to expire between the end of this year and next. NBC was renewed last year.

Separately, Ryan suggested that ultimately, morning news could bring in more revenue than the late newscasts -- traditionally a big driver of the station business.

“We’re putting relatively more resources into the early morning to follow the viewers and support that shift in viewing and as the morning becomes stronger and stronger in viewing, ultimately the late local news is going to become a little less important as a revenue source to us,” he said. “The morning is going to supplement it and complement it. Much farther down the road, it may even pass it, but that will depend on the ultimate shift in viewing.”

Gray, which operates dozens of stations in markets 60 through 200-plus, recently inked a deal with streaming facilitator Syncbak, which will allow it to stream its stations live on mobile devices. CBS recently took a stake in Syncbak.



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