CBS, Affiliates Agree to New Media, Football Deals

Jun 29, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CBS and its affiliates have agreed to a framework for network-station relations in the new media world, entering a pact that also extends by three years their cost-sharing deal to broadcast National Football League games.

CBS affiliates that promote digital offerings such as video-on-demand on their air will get a share of that revenue, the network and the board that represents the stations said in a statement Thursday. The affiliates also will receive a bounty for Internet traffic they drive to CBS.com and other CBS-owned Internet properties that draw viewers to ad-supported content.

The agreement resembles the deal forged in April between Fox Broadcasting and its affiliates. The Fox stations get 12.5 percent of what Fox takes in (minus distribution, union fees and other costs) for post-broadcast, on-demand repurposing. The Fox affiliates get 25 percent of revenue from airing on-demand content before it plays on the network.

Under the football deal, stations probably won’t have to ante up more cash to help defray the $3.73 billion through 2011 that CBS paid to get NFL rights. Instead, stations and CBS will swap some advertising slots. The network will receive spots held by affiliates that have grown in value since the broadcaster attained the No. 1 ranking with audiences.

Powerful station groups joining the agreement include Freedom, Gannett, LIN, Meredith, New York Times, Nexstar and CBS-owned outlets. Ms. Wade said she was confident the CBS affiliates will consent to the agreement.

“This new agreement is a significant evolution in the network-affiliate partnership,” affiliate board Chairwoman and Freedom Broadcasting President Doreen Wade said in the statement. “This agreement moves us in the right direction, recognizing the unique programming and promotional value that both parties bring to network broadcasting.”

The agreement reflects the different approaches networks are taking in negotiating with affiliates over distributing shows on the Web and other media such as cellphones.

“In a rapidly changing multiplatform, multimedia universe, CBS and its affiliates must develop new business models and methods that best position us to maximize revenue and branding opportunities,” said Ms. Wade, who is also general manager and VP of WPEC-TV.