top of page
  • Robert Eckelman

Have television stations lost their leverage on charging cable companies retransmission fees?


Have television stations lost their leverage on                          charging cable companies retransmission fees?
Have television stations lost their leverage on charging cable companies retransmission fees?

Retransmission fees are the fees that local broadcast stations charge cable & satellite companies to show their programming. This is a large source of income for local broadcasters & a huge expense to cable and satellite companies.


Up until a few years ago cable companies and local broadcasters needed each other, they were frenemies. That is changing due to #Streaming #CTV #OTT


Cable companies needed to offer their customers local broadcasts in order to get subscribers.


Broadcasters needed cable, it was the primary way people viewed local stations.


Keep in mind they were and still are competitive businesses. Retransmission has always been a tricky negotiation, and with the consolidation of power into a few broadcasters it has even become harsher.


Oftentimes as viewers you will see the fight between cable companies and broadcasters play out during your favorite programs. It is happening right now in December 2022 between Nexstar broadcasting and Comcast. Typically, it is a crawl or commercial during broadcasts with each side blaming one another. Something like this, contact your cable provider and tell them to keep our station on the air otherwise you will not be able to watch… each side is making the other look bad and why not put viewers in the middle.


Today, Cord Cutting has hit record numbers. I have read articles where cable companies are giving up on video or at least placing much more focus on their high-speed internet and other services. Thanks to CTV | Streaming| OTT the value proposition that local broadcasters and cable companies once offered each other has diminished. Cable companies are focused less on video, they have lost many subscribers, and cable penetration is dropping like a lead weight. Broadcasters no longer need cable companies to send their signal out. It is easy to stream almost all local stations. You can bet that broadcasters still want retransmission fees.


In the past, I have worked for cable companies & broadcasters. I know firsthand how bitter past negotiations really were. That said I have been in #CTV #Streaming #OTT for the last 5+ years so I don't know for sure how these negotiations are proceeding. My thought, it is fairly easy to see this tense negotiation has less sting, value and leverage.

bottom of page