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Fox Affiliates, Network Look to Future

Jan 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Fox affiliates focused on the future at an annual meeting between the stations and the network that was one of the most peaceful on record. Both contingents are concentrating on how they can adapt to a changing business environment rather than their differences.

The tenor of comments by attendees underscored the assessment by Fox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra that “we have a common business interest.” That feeling was fostered by the deal struck last year that cut Fox-affiliated television stations in on revenue from digital repurposing of network content.

“The pace of change is not going to magically plateau or slow” in the industry, Mr. Vinciquerra said in his opening remarks at the affiliates meeting in Las Vegas.

Before the network and affiliates leave Las Vegas, where their meeting preceded the opening of the National Association of Television Program Executives conference, a recently formed futures committee will lay out for Fox executives several suggestions for collaborating on digital partnerships.

Mr. Vinciquerra also said that federal agencies that regulate the television business are not keeping pace with the dramatic growth of new technologies that impact the television business.

“The affiliate body has evolved. Stations know they have to figure out how to make the best use of the Fox brand,” not just in the community but on the Internet,” said outgoing affiliates board chairman Brian Brady, president and CEO of Northwest Broadcasting.

Mr. Brady had been affiliates board chairman, but passed the baton over the weekend to Joe Denk, general manager of Second Generation-owned KFXA-TV in Cedar Rapids, who presided over the full convention.

Positive ratings for Fox’s first broadcast of the college football Bowl Championship Series, featuring best college football teams, contributed to the harmonious tone of the gathering, which peaked Monday.

“We got all parts of the company involved,” Mr. Vinciquerra said of the bowl package. The game’s ratings met expectations, he said.

The local-station executives also are pleased with the arrival of Fox’s midseason lineup — which has traditionally performed more strongly than the fall slate. The midseason push started Sunday with top ratings for “24,” and continues Wednesday with the season premiere of “American Idol.”

(Editor: Baumann)