NBC and its affiliates continue to move toward a deal that will enable the network to negotiate retransmission deals on behalf of affiliates, B&C reports, and both sides reported progress this week — if only a little.
The story reports: “Brian Lawlor, who passed along his affiliates board chairman duties to Jordan Wertlieb at the May 14 meeting, made the landmark proxy arrangement a focus of his chairmanship. In the meeting, both parties agreed on an arrangement whereby NBC, when negotiating retrans terms for one of its owned stations with certain MVPDs, will ask the distributor to extend the same terms as those for the O&Os to affiliates whose deals are also coming due.”
Lawlor called the arrangement “a good first step,” the report says.
Wertlieb voiced support for the network’s programming strategy, the story reports. “Wertlieb, who spent much of his career at NBC affiliate WBAL Baltimore before being promoted to Hearst TV corporate, saluted the network’s 2012-2013 gameplan, revealed at its upfront presentation earlier in the day, of stoking new hits on the backs of early-in-the-week ratings monsters ‘Sunday Night Football’ and ‘The Voice,’” B&C reports. “He called it a ‘very solid strategy,’ and voiced his enthusiasm for Comcast’s support of over the air television. ‘Their investment speaks loudly to the affiliate body,’ Wertlieb said. ‘I think it’s going to be a very exciting year.’"
NBC Broadcasting chief Ted Harbert touted the network’s affiliate relationship as a model for the industry, the story notes. Said Harbert: "The relationship is looked at as the best in the business. It matters a lot to me not to let that slip away."