The Fox Network’s meeting with its affiliates at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas was a hot one, covering some contentious issues and running close to four hours, B&C reported.
Reverse compensation fees, considered by stations to be onerous, were front and center–as was expected after tensions between the network and its affiliates over the issue went public in the past few months. By some accounts about 40% of the meeting was focused on the topic, according to the story.
“Fox is demanding 25 cents per subscriber from affiliates in markets 1-125 in the first year of the deal, climbing to 50 cents by the fourth year,” B&C reported. “Fox affiliates in smaller markets follow a relatively less expensive rate card. Fox President of affiliate sales and marketing Mike Hopkins fielded question after question on the topic from affiliates who felt the fees would seriously drain their cash flow. After Hopkins held the hard line amidst such barrage, one affiliate noted, ‘This guy’s got ice water in his veins.’"
Both sides were reportedly determined to keep the substance of the discussions out of the press, presenting a united front after the closed-door meeting.
Said Fox Affiliate Board Chairman Brian Brady after the event: "The meeting was a very open and honest dialogue between the network and its affiliates. It’s exactly what you need. When you’re partners, you need to communicate."