or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Sinclair Cable Carriage
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sinclair Cable Carriage - Page 62

post #1831 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Interesting. So here is where things stand:

Comcast says it abided by its policy of not paying for retransmission rights.

Sinclair says it got paid for its retransmission rights.

And Sinclair says it will be happy to waive its confidentiality agreement and make the contract public.

Comcast has no further comment.

The silence is deafening, isn't it? I think the comment in the movie "All of the President's Men" is, "It is a non-denial denial."
post #1832 of 1851
Cash for retrans or comparable value? Who knows, who cares. You say tomayto, I say tomahto.

The key for Comcast customers is the part that says they didn't pay cash "that would need to be passed on to our customers."

As far as I'm concerned there were no "good guys" in this struggle. But I do think it's clear, Comcast is not Mediacom, and Sinclair did not want to push it as far this time.
post #1833 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by hondo21 View Post

Cash for retrans or comparable value? Who knows, who cares. You say tomayto, I say tomahto.

The key for Comcast customers is the part that says they didn't pay cash "that would need to be passed on to our customers."

As far as I'm concerned there were no "good guys" in this struggle. But I do think it's clear, Comcast is not Mediacom, and Sinclair did not want to push it as far this time.

What you say may be true, but then why does Comcast NOT want the terms out there to prove their point? Sinclair seems to have no trouble with being shown up, if it is true that cash is not being paid for carriage, which would undermine their whole strategy going forward.

Here is my take on it. I have absolutely NO inside info and only what has been posted here. It would seem to me the whole deal was structured to allow both sides to get what they want, to make it look like Comcast isn't paying so they don't have to raise rates and Sinclair does get something on the bottom line, which is all either one really cares about. Comcast IS paying but it is structured to look like they aren't. (I think they call it creative finance.) This way Comcast gets to say they didn't, Sinclair gets to say they did and no one is lying. Then you take the Comcast PR that leaves it foggy with some statements that go against the agreement and Sinclair takes Comcast to task about it and Comcast is caught, knows it and just goes away.

Bottom line here is everyone got what they wanted and came out looking halfway decent.
post #1834 of 1851
That's probably about right. Just like so much of business and politics, it's all about the spin. But even if all the terms were made public there would no doubt be differences of opinion over the value of what was exchanged.

I guess any agreement that allows both sides to claim victory is a good one.
post #1835 of 1851
Even better when the consumer doesn't feel any effect, hondo21!
post #1836 of 1851
Insight's Willner Calls for Tax to Aid TV Stations
By Ted Hearn MultiChannel News 3/12/2007

Washington -- A federal tax designed to subsidize local TV stations should replace the current system that allows TV stations to help their finances by demanding cash for carriage from cable operators, Insight Communications CEO Michael Willner (pictured) said Monday.

Willner said his TV tax proposal would ensure a second revenue stream for broadcasters while relieving cable operators from having to pay for programming that is offered to the public free-of-charge.

Set up a way of collecting a tax. If you want people to pay for broadcasting, collect it from everybody evenly. They do it in Britain, said Willner, a panelist at the annual Cable Television Public Affairs Association Forum 2007 here.

Insight is the ninth-largest U.S-based cable operator, with 1.3 million subscribers, mostly in the Midwest.

In recent years, TV-station groups have become more aggressive in using their legal right to withhold their signals to demand cash payments. Recent examples include Sinclair Broadcast Group's three month standoff with cable operator Mediacom Communications.

Willner indicated that the TV tax would fund a federal royalty pool, similar to the one used to compensate sports leagues and Hollywood studios.

This would be in lieu of retransmission consent, and all broadcasters would share in the pool, said Willner, who didn't suggest the size of the tax. We'll collect it. We don't care -- but as long as everybody gets [taxed] equally.

National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president of communications Dennis Wharton called the proposal laughable and said the NAB isn't interested in raising taxes on American citizens.

The tax would alter a regulatory mandate that works to the disadvantage of cable companies, including the requirement that every cable subscriber must purchase the program package that includes local TV signals, Willner said.

The reality is, the system is broken," he added. "It really doesn't work because what it's doing is charging certain parts of the population to watch over-the-air television while it doesn't charge other parts of the population.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/...=Breaking+News
post #1837 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post




National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president of communications Dennis Wharton called the proposal laughable......

....and then some....
post #1838 of 1851
Let me guess.. Left Wing Media Wacko? Oh, sorry, didn't mean to insult the Left Wing Media Wackos that Willner is one of theirs. I don't think THEY would claim him.
post #1839 of 1851
The Business of Television
Counting retrans cash
Television Business Report 3/12/2007

There are various ways to do the math on the Sinclair-Comcast retransmission consent deal, but the bottom line is that the broadcaster is getting paid for its signal carriage.

"As the largest cable MSO, Comcast has the most leverage when it comes to retransmission agreements. The fact that Comcast is paying Sinclair cash indicates that broadcast television is highly valued, and we believe that this agreement paves the way for other television broadcast groups' negotiations," Wachovia Capital Markets analyst Marci Ryvicker said in a research note.

According to Ryvicker, Comcast has 3.4 million cable subscribers in the 23 markets covered by the new four-year retrans agreement. No terms were made public, but immediately after the deal was cut, Sinclair raised its 2007 guidance for revenues from retrans payments by five million bucks.

While that does include some recent deals with smaller MSOs, it is clear that most of the increase is from Comcast. TVBR did some quick math and, with about 10 months left in this year, we came up with Sinclair getting about 14.7 cents per sub per month from Comcast.

Ryvicker looks at it a little differently, calculating 5.5 million subscriber payments because of the duopolies that Sinclair has in most of the Comcast markets, "we believe that, inclusive of Sinclair's duopolies, the company is getting an incremental 10 cents per subscriber (we do not know what Sinclair received in the past, but we do not believe it was much). We are increasing our '07 revenue and EBITDA estimates by 0.7% and 2.1% respectively," Ryvicker told clients, also boosting her EPS estimate for this year by three cents to 35 cents.

TVBR observation:

Whether you call it 10 cents or 15 cents, Comcast is still paying a lot less than the 40 cents that Mediacom, a much smaller MSO, is rumored to have had to cough up. And it is well below the 50 cents per sub target that Les Moonves has set for CBS to get when its retrans agreements come up for renewal.

But the important thing is that Sinclair is getting paid. Even the biggest MSO of all cannot get by without paying something for broadcast TV retransmission rights.

Especially now as the cable companies are pressing hard for customers to upgrade to more expensive HD tiers, it would be ridiculous for an MSO to try to get those higher monthly payments if the HD service does not include the Super Bowl or the Olympics.

And since the Super Bowl rotates among three networks, that means NBC, Fox and CBS are all must-have HD channels. Doing without "Desperate Housewives" or "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC is also hard to imagine.

The world has indeed changed and the cable MSOs are adjusting to the new reality.
post #1840 of 1851
Defining When Cash Is Cash and Isn't

A Retrans Deal's Value Is in the Eye Of the Beholder

By Mike Farrell 3/19/2007

The battle of semantics this month surrounding the retransmission-consent deal between Comcast and Sinclair Broadcast Group begs the question: In these deals, just what is meant by cash?

Comcast was first to announce its retransmission-consent deal with Sinclair on March 9, stressing in interviews that it had adhered to its policy of not paying cash to broadcasters for retransmission.

But the company selected its words carefully. Comcast executive vice president David Cohen said that the multiple-system operator's policy is to not pay cash for retransmission consent that would be passed on to consumers a point that was quickly attacked in a Sinclair press release, which claimed that Comcast's contention that the deal is merely an exchange of equivalent value is a mischaracterization.

Defining cash
The argument is not new. For as long as broadcasters have been seeking retransmission consent, they have claimed to have received cash for carriage from cable operators, direct-broadcast satellite service providers and now telephone companies. For the most part, it has mainly been the cable operators that have denied they are paying cash for retransmission consent.

Webster's defines cash as ready money; money or its equivalent (as a check) paid for goods or services at the time of purchase or delivery.

At Comcast, cash for retransmission consent means just that the operator pays cash strictly for the right to carry the signals of a broadcaster and receives nothing else in return. At Sinclair, the definition is the same. Again, Comcast says it does not pay cash for retransmission. Sinclair said it does not consider money paid for advertising spots to be cash for retransmission consent.

So, by its accounting, Sinclair is getting cash. Shortly after Comcast made its announcement, Sinclair went as far as to revise its 2007 retransmission-revenue forecast from $48 million to $53 million to drive home its point. Sinclair said that part of the reason for the revision was due to the recent signing of the Comcast deal. Sinclair's general counsel, Barry Faber, would not break out how much of that $53 million is advertising revenue and how much is retrans cash.

In its 2006 10-K annual report, filed March 9, Sinclair reported $25.4 million in retransmission-consent revenue for the year, $20.5 million in cash and $4.9 million in local and regional advertising. So it appears that Sinclair draws a distinct line between cash compensation and advertising sales.

So who's right? Maybe both.

I think they might both be finding a way to both be telling the story accurately, in the nuance of what they're saying, said one cable executive who asked not to be named. You have to read between the lines.

In an interview shortly after the deal was announced, Cohen explained the different definitions possibly could come about because Sinclair may value its advertising at a lower rate than Comcast.

When we get a $100 ad from him [Sinclair] we value it at $100, Cohen said. He may say, 'It's not worth $100 to me because we don't sell all of our advertising anyway. And so it may be worth only $30 to me.' At the end of the day, the value that we have received back is comparable. When I say it's comparable, I'm not playing games by saying that I'm inflating the value of what we're getting back in order to make that statement.

Sanford Bernstein cable and satellite analyst Craig Moffett was equally puzzled, adding that it all comes down to the value assigned by each company.

Value is in the eye of the beholder, Moffett said. From the perspective of Comcast, the $100 of advertising is $100 of advertising. It's irrelevant whether Sinclair would have otherwise sold it or not. From the perspective of Sinclair, the economics are completely different. If they would have sold it [the advertising] anyway, the incremental value is essentially zero. If they otherwise wouldn't have sold it, the incremental contribution is 100%. Only Sinclair really knows.

While cable operators may be paying what they believe to be a fair price for advertising spots, one cable operator who asked not to be named said the money spent on advertising as part of a retrans deal is often money the operator would not have spent in the first place.

Thick nuances
I think cable operators are in fact having real hard-dollar value extracted from them in return for retransmission consent, said the cable executive who asked not to be named. However, they are getting other value-added services in return for that, as opposed to just paying cash, which can translate to marketing services or something as simple as getting the operator's logo on a news crawl.

The nuances start to become thicker, however, in examining what those services are and how both sides value them.

Let me tell you what cash is not if somebody said to me 'I'll give you $1 million, but you have to give me commercial inventory on your stations worth $1 million,' Faber said. I didn't get any cash for my retrans [in that scenario]. And I don't do deals like that.

Faber said for larger cable operators, sometimes the company will agree to include advertising, but only equal to what the operator has historically spent with the broadcaster. For example, if a cable operator typically spends $1 million on advertising with a station group and does a $10 million retrans deal, Sinclair may say $1 million of that deal is for advertising, to appease any operator concerns.

What happens sometimes with cable guys is, there is certainly a lot of desire not to have documentation that says they're paying us cash for retrans, Faber said.

True value
So, if a cable operator wants the deal to state that a $10 million retrans deal consists of $1 million in advertising and $9 million of video-on-demand rights, he has no problem with that.

Faber said that video-on-demand rights mainly for local news broadcasts have little value to his stations, but may have greater value for the cable operator. Whether the cable operator wants to say that the bulk of the cash paid for retrans was actually for VOD rights doesn't matter to him. But there is little question about its true value, he added.

Let's say I had elected must-carry, Faber said. If I called them up and said 'How would you like to buy my VOD rights for $9 million?' I'm very confident that nobody is going to pay me that for it. But if that's how they want to memorialize it in an agreement because, for whatever reason, the optics of it work for them, I'm OK with that. To me money is money and I don't really care how the agreement allocates it. In my view it's for retrans.

But that doesn't mean that VOD has no value to Comcast. The Philadelphia-based operator is one of the biggest purveyors of on-demand programming most of it free to subscribers. Comcast sees on-demand content as a key tool for keeping its subscribers from defecting to satellite or other competitors. So even if a small group of subscribers stays with Comcast paying an average of $100 per month in part because they are able to watch the 6:30 p.m. local news at 8 p.m. on demand, then that VOD deal has a real value.

Could cable operators be paying $100 for $30 worth of advertising? The answer may truly be in the eye of the beholder.

http://multichannel.com/article/CA6425792.html
post #1841 of 1851
And here is the footnote to Sinclair vs Mediacom:

Quote:


Due to sharp increases in the fees we pay to broadcast stations and cable networks, we find it necessary to adjust the rates for cable services. Effective with your next billing statement, your Broadcast Basic service rate will increase $3. 00 per month. Your Expanded Basic rate will increase $1.00 per month. We greatly appreciate your business.
post #1842 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnakeEyes View Post

And here is the footnote to Sinclair vs Mediacom:

But remember, it's "fair" that YOU should pay for what is actually passed out free. I forget exactly why it's "fair" and why you should WANT to be "fair", but it seems as if someone on this thread has explained it in the past.

$48 a year now, with a promise of more in the future. Maybe the folks with antennas will want to be "fair" also. They could just mail in $4 a month so that they, too, could be "fair."
post #1843 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan54 View Post

But remember, it's "fair" that YOU should pay for what is actually passed out free. I forget exactly why it's "fair" and why you should WANT to be "fair", but it seems as if someone on this thread has explained it in the past.

$48 a year now, with a promise of more in the future. Maybe the folks with antennas will want to be "fair" also. They could just mail in $4 a month so that they, too, could be "fair."

For the consumer nothing really changed except the price went up.

Those who were paying for local channel still are as they have been. No consumers who was getting free local channels lost that ability.
post #1844 of 1851
Odd that they increased the broadcast basic tier $3.00, but the expanded basic tier (which also includes all the locals) only increased $1.00. Must be the lack of competition at the Broadcast Basic level.
post #1845 of 1851
There are accounting rules (and IRS rules) that payments and receipts better match up on both sides of the ledger as to what they are for. When 2 Companies account for them in different ways, well, go talk to Enron and Worldcomm about that.

However, if Comcast wants to pay $100 for a $30 spot, that is actually worth more than $100 to Sinclair.

Huh????

As noted pages and pages ago - the price of spots is dependent on demand. If everyone is scrambling to get on in October prior to an election, then the price is going way up for everyone.

Or take the airplane scenario. There are x number of seats on the plane. If the early seats are sold for for the cheap rate of $200, as seats fill up the quicker the fare moves up and they max out at 3x $200 in First Class.

If in this case the early seats (that would have been $30 seats) - are sold but the seats are filled at $100 - that means the other people that would have purchased the $30 seats normally cannot get them - and now must pay $60 for seats - or 2x what they would have originally had to pay.

In other words, there is pressure on the entire inventory - there are less seats - and the $30 seats sold for $100 - so the price went up for EVERYONE on the plane.

If a Network could sell in the May Upfronts at 3x the going rate, it would be like heavens opened up.

So, while I think the when is cash = cash debate is ridiculous from an accounting and auditing standpoint, if Comcast wants to push the markets rates up higher by paying upfront $100 for $30s, then god love them. It means Ford, GM, Verizon, Sprint, McDonalds, Coke and everyone else just went up in what it costs them to advertise as well.
post #1846 of 1851
The switch was flipped by Charter Cable for WLOS-HD in the Western Carolinas this morning. Took one month after agreement to happen, but it's finally here! Now, WMYA-HD should become available in the near future.
post #1847 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by popweaverhdtv View Post

The switch was flipped by Charter Cable for WLOS-HD in the Western Carolinas this morning. Took one month after agreement to happen, but it's finally here! Now, WMYA-HD should become available in the near future.

Amazing! It took WGME HD in Portland ME less than one HOUR to appear on Time Warner Cable after the agreement was signed. TWC was ready and waiting. Of course, this is Maine and people might move a little quicker here.
post #1848 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan54 View Post

Amazing! It took WGME HD in Portland ME less than one HOUR to appear on Time Warner Cable after the agreement was signed. TWC was ready and waiting. Of course, this is Maine and people might move a little quicker here.

Or, WGME already had a fiber run into the TWC facility in S. Portland, and they just had to turn in on.
post #1849 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkurlanski View Post

Or, WGME already had a fiber run into the TWC facility in S. Portland, and they just had to turn in on.

When you stop to think about it, if WGME (Sinclair) had already run fiber into to Time Warner facility in So. Portland, it must have tipped the negotiating hand that Sinclair was playing at the time. When you have already made that kind of commitment and investment, you are very likely ready to sign on the dotted line.

On the other hand, it is true that TWC only had to push a button to start carrying the channel.

I do suspect, however, that it might be a little difficult in some areas to just kid the cable company to push the button. Some of the posters indicate that their local cable offices barely know what's going on around them.
post #1850 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan54 View Post

When you stop to think about it, if WGME (Sinclair) had already run fiber into to Time Warner facility in So. Portland, it must have tipped the negotiating hand that Sinclair was playing at the time. When you have already made that kind of commitment and investment, you are very likely ready to sign on the dotted line.
.

Don't read too much into it! That fiber was put in quite awhile ago (18 months+)and I wouldn't even speculate who foot the bill to put it in. I just got a tour of the facility a while back and there it sat, wating word "from above"
post #1851 of 1851
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackwaterStout View Post

The other networks are not sinclair owned. The relevance is that Sinclair is using the excuse that Adelphia is making money off of their signal and not passing the money on to them. But that is not true because Adelphia passes the networks HD signals for free via ClearQAM.

I'm sure someone has already mentioned this (I'm late to the thread) but I would like to point out that not all tv's and set-tops have a QAM tuner, and of those that do there a percentage of users who aren't technically savvy enough to understand what it is or how to use it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HDTV Programming
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Programming › Sinclair Cable Carriage