Linear TV Affiliate Fee Concerns: Hurting Some Legacy Media More Than Others

Charter Communications' battle with Walt Disney over crucial affiliate fees and revenues could spill over to the industry overall-- with a greater issue among non-Disney TV network groups.

Affiliate-fee revenues as a percentage of total company revenue is highest for Fox Corp. followed by NBCU, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount(47%), followed by NBCUniversal (28%), Warner Bros. Discovery (27%) and Paramount Global (26%). 

Disney has a 20% share of total revenue coming in from linear TV affiliate fees. Currently, Charter pays $2.2 billion a year in affiliate fees to Disney.

Looking more closely, MoffettNathanson Senior Research Analyst Craig Moffett says the focus should be on NBCU and Paramount.

Both have been regularly offering major sports programming like the NFL on their respective streamers -- Peacock and Paramount+ -- alongside the linear TV network airings of the games.

That activity from those companies -- which Moffett has referred to as “cheaters” -- has irked pay TV providers (cable, satellite, telco and virtual) as those non-exclusive streaming airings has been slowly siphoning off pay TV system subscribers and viewership.



Fox Corp. has the highest revenue share coming from its linear TV affiliate fees. But Moffett says that unlike other major legacy TV companies, it doesn’t have a premium streaming service. (Fox’s  Tubi TV is a free, ad-supported platform). 

Moffett suggests this means that at least in the near term, Fox would not have an issue with any pay TV services since its part of the NFL package is exclusive to its over-the-air Fox Television Network, and in turn, to those pay TV operators.

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