Local TV Stations' Future Memories: Just Streaming, Forget 'Retransmission'

Could separating local TV content from network-affiliate content be a thing going forward? Put on your imagination AI headset to find out.

This concerns the recent decision by the CBS Affiliate board to reject a deal that CBS made with Fubo TV, a virtual pay TV provider. Weeks later, it was revealed that Sinclair-owned stations -- ABC affiliates -- didn't like the deal Disney made with its in-house virtual pay TV provider, Hulu.

In both cases, the threat (alternative?) of both TV network groups that came through offering a "national feed" to those virtual pay TV providers was tempting -- a slate that includes prime-time entertainment, early morning news shows, afternoon soaps, late-night TV, and, of course, the big NFL package of games that pull in major viewership.

So where does that leave TV stations going forward if they see smaller carriage, retransmission fees and revenues from virtual pay TV?

Can they really go out on their own and just make deals for themselves?



It doesn't seem so -- especially if their TV networks group makes separate deals without them -- retransmission deals that include their owned TV stations, which run all their content.

What network affiliates will have left to consider is what their ever-expanding local TV news content means to virtual pay TV platforms -- and to a lesser extent, entertainment/unscripted TV content they buy in the syndication market or that they produced themselves.

TV networks always say TV affiliates have a choice: let us negotiate your carriage/retransmission deals -- or go on your own.

The problem is that going on your own means less negotiation weight that a network can bring, with some 200 affiliates.

So are local TV stations in a bind when it comes to increasing the increasingly more challenging linear TV business based on traditional pay TV platforms -- cable, satellite, and telco -- as well as getting new virtual pay TV providers (YouTube TV, Hulu + LIve TV, and Sling to name a few) to sign on?

On Monday, Nexstar Media Group -- the largest U.S. TV station group -- renewed a deal with YouTube TV for 59 of its TV stations. (Overall, Nexstar owns or partners with 200 stations in 116 U.S. markets.)

At the same time, there is somewhat of change in the air. Remember that local TV stations bring a lot of value when it comes to on-air promotion of TV networks. It is a partnership that has endured.

Still, the future is coming -- and it may already be here, according to some. Should local TV stations just own up to the prospect that the future is no longer anything related to “over the air” signals -- that everything is just a streaming app?

Like the regional sports networks, TV stations may need to focus on the last stage of their ongoing anguish: acceptance.

2 comments about "Local TV Stations' Future Memories: Just Streaming, Forget 'Retransmission'".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, March 14, 2023 at 3:40 p.m.

    Yup. 5 years ago stating linear TV was a do-do bird was a no-no but here we are: the point of no return. Just watch where People consume content...

  2. Ben B from Retired, March 14, 2023 at 9:23 p.m.

    TV station groups should get their own deal with YouTube TV, HULU, Fubo TV ETC. Then CBS, NBC, FOX & ABC O&O in my opinion.

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