ABC versus the world

Word is that ABC is going after blood when it comes to affiliate relations. ABC

ABC is reportedly looking to collect HALF of the local affiliate’s retrans fees – AND asking for the authority to bundle affiliates together, negotiate with multi-channel operators for fat fees, and then take half.

According to, Fisher has already locked in its affiliation agreement until 2014 paying something that looks more like a licensing fee rather than a cut of the retrans revenue.

Others though aren’t so lucky. With deals coming up now, the network is reportedly looking for a big cut – with some affiliates likely to be forced out.

This is all new because the networks used to pay the affiliates. Now, the networks want to be paid by the affiliates. Both sides make legitimate arguments, but I think the nets need the affils more than visa versa. There is NO substitute for local programming.

In Fisher’s deal for KOMO and KATU – the stations get a prescribed amount of prime time inventory and promotional clearances.

So – what this really does, in my mind, is buy Fisher four years to figure out what to do next with the option of putting ABC on a secondary channel – or building a secondary channel – well in advance of the affiliation agreement expiring.

Again, I fully admit that my postulations are probably dead wrong and that this will all turn out in some way I have yet to conjur.

In other news, NBC is reportedly getting ready to pull-the-plug on Leno at 10pm. I am amazed this the network is being as responsive to affiliate concerns as they are when it comes to issues with late local news lead ins.

I don’t know what KING’s numbers have looked like under Leno – but my guess is that they’re probably not too sad about putting Leno back into late night.

Have any inside insights into all of this? Feel free to share with the class. You can always email me confidentially at