Retrans: Battle to Save Broadcast Television

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

Broadcast television is fighting for its life, and one massive battle taking place now could define how the war may be won. The carriage agreements between Time Warner Cable (TWC) and News Corp. for Fox-owned stations, cable networks and regional sports networks expire Dec. 31. The executives working on those agreements–otherwise known as retransmission deals–are expected to remain at the negotiating table into the wee hours of the holiday season.

Many industry insiders say you can’t overestimate the stakes. While many carriage agreements typically expire at the end of any given year, the terms and pricing on the Fox-TWC deal are of utmost importance to just about everybody and every company in the business of television. As one network executive told B&C, “Whatever they agree to with Fox, they have to agree to with all four networks.” Says another exec: “It sets where the conversation starts for everyone else.”


The deal is playing out on one of the biggest fronts in what insiders describe as TV’s “holy war.” It has precedent-setting power over the many showdowns that are already underway or are scheduled to take place over the next two to three years across the broadcasting and cable industries. More…