NBC Works Out Unusual ‘Proxy’ Arrangement With Affiliates on Retrans

May 17, 2011  •  Post A Comment

NBC and its affiliate stations have the framework in place for an unusual–and potentially groundbreaking–arrangement in which the network would take the lead on behalf of affiliates in retransmission consent negotiations with cable and satellite providers, Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The arrangement, which is essentially an optional “proxy” deal for affiliates, has been in the works for a couple of years. But the details came together Monday during NBC’s affiliate board meeting in New York, held in conjunction with the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers, the story says.

NBC called the approach "another step toward further solidifying the partnership" with affiliate stations, the story reports.

According to the B&C piece: “Affiliates that opt in would hand over ‘proxy rights’ to retrans negotiations to the network. NBC affiliates board Chairman Brian Lawlor described it as a one-of-a-kind arrangement in broadcast television.

Said Lawlor: "It’s a brand new kind of deal. It completely changes the network-affiliate model."

B&C adds: “Indeed, the other major networks do not have a blanket deal with affiliates regarding retrans. Such a deal eluded Fox and its affiliates board several months ago, and set the course for at times bitter negotiations between the network and its affiliates regarding the splitting of retrans cash as part of affiliation agreements. Last week, Fox announced it was parting ways with two affiliates, the divorce stemming from unmet retrans demands.”

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