Fox Affiliates Have ‘Positive’ Meeting Following Last Year’s Retrans Shakedown

By Andrew Gauthier 

By all accounts, this year’s Fox affiliates meeting at the NAB convention went significantly better than last year’s.

Last April’s meeting between Fox executives and affiliate representatives amounted to a retrains shakedown, with Fox demanding that affiliates share a significant portion of the revenue they generate from carriage deals.  At the meeting this week, the focus was on the positive.

“It was 180 degrees different. It was positive,” Jon Hookstratten, Fox executive VP of network distribution, told B&C.  “People are very excited about having live sports on Saturday nights. After what we went through last year, it feels good.”

A major focus of the meeting was on Fox’s plans to increase live sports programming on Saturday nights.  Earlier this month, the network announced that it would be cutting “COPS,” the longtime Saturday night staple, in favor of live sports coverage that would include NASCAR, Major League Baseball, and UFC.

The Saturday shift is seen as a big positive for Fox-affiliates since live sports are one of the few TV programs that reliably draw big audiences in the face of growing cable options and streaming video.