Retrans 101 or Why Your Cable and Satellite Bills Will Be Skyrocketing

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

December 13th, 2009

sky-rocket

When I have posted on the subject of retransmission fees, I have publicly lamented that only a few of our readers care because when it comes to potential broadcast network revenue streams, it's the biggest story out there.

Last week I had the idea that I would stop posting such articles with the prefix "Retrans Wars" and instead post them with "Why Your Cable/Satellite Bills Are Going to Skyrocket!"   While that's not necessarily precisely true (though mark my words, those bills are definitely going to increase) I figured it was at least a better approach at getting more people reading about retransmission consent deals and why they matter.

Melissa Grego at Broadcasting & Cable has an awesome, awesome, awesome primer on why retransmission fee negotiations are such a big story and to Broadcasting & Cable's credit they've made it this week's cover story.

Given my lamentations, I love that the piece is sub-headlined "It's not the sexiest subject in television, but..."

It's a very long article that goes into a lot of detail and also attempts to explain why you should care about it, despite its lack of sexiness.

Though the article doesn't get into it  much (and I don't fault them for it, since it's already quite a long piece) multiple things are likely to happen down the road as a result of new retransmission deals, like:

1.) the broadcast networks will wind up getting more money

2.) the way cable and satellite subscriber fees are currently allocated among the cable and broadcast networks are going to need to be reallocated, this will play out over a long period of kicking and screaming.

3.)your monthly bills will go up anyway, because nobody is going to want to give up any profits, including the cable and satellite providers and the reallocation of fees discussed in the point above will be difficult -- too difficult to pull off as a zero sum game.

I think Melissa Grego's first sentence reels you in:

Broadcast television is fighting for its life, and one massive battle taking place now could define how the war may be won.

I hope it reels you into reading the whole story.

 
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