War Coverage Raises Make-Good Concerns

Mar 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Syndicators are taking different courses of action as local stations continue to pre-empt programming with war news coverage. With national barter spots on the line, the studios are weighing station make-goods on a case-by-case basis, depending on the programming.
Universal Domestic Television and NBC Enterprises confirmed that they will forgive TV station make-goods on national barter spots in their shows during the initial stage of any continuous coverage of military activity in the Persian Gulf region, then monitor events as they unfold to evaluate whether any additional make-good relief is warranted by the stations.
“We believe it is vital that we provide some relief to our broadcast partners in the initial stage of any wall-to-wall coverage of military action against Iraq,” said Steve Rosenberg, president of Universal Domestic Television. “As stations’ partners, we need to respond to the loss of advertising revenue and increased news-related expenses that they will face as a result of covering these events.”
Other syndicators are, for now, keeping make-goods in play with some, such as King World, opting to be flexible as to when the barter would air while others, such as Sony and Tribune, maintaining a business-as-usual stance. Typically, stations are given a one-week window for make-good spots.
Yet others haven’t decided how to handle the situation, noting that given the fragile atmosphere it was too early to make a decision.
“At this point, stations are covering a vitally important news story and when the time is appropriate, we will sit down with them and figure out what to do. But it’s premature to even talk about this right now,” a Warner Bros. spokesman said.