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Belo Corp.'s In "Negotiations" With ABC, Which Wants More of Affiliates' Revenues

Belo Corp.'s In "Negotiations" With ABC, Which Wants More of Affiliates' Revenues

On Tuesday morning, Belo Corp. released its third-quarter financials ("total revenue decreased 17.7 percent"), then followed up its press release with a conference call with analysts. During the chat, Michael Meltz of J.P. Morgan asked Dunia Shive, the president and CEO of WFAA-Channel 8's parent company, if there was "any update on ABC agreement." Because, as it turns out, the network wants more of Belo's retransmission consent revenue -- which, plainly put, is "the revenue [that] comes from cable and satellite operators in exchange for broadcasters' permission to carry or retransmit TV station signals." Belo said yesterday its retransmission revenue totaled $10.6 million during the third quarter, which represented 7.5 percent of its total revenue.

And ABC wants a bigger cut for letting WFAA and other Belo-owned affiliates carry its programming -- not all of it, Shive said, but more than it's currently getting. Because, look, that's big money out there for the taking -- and, some analysts say, the pile's only getting bigger, and what better way to offset ad-revenue losses than by snatching easy money off the top. Said Shive, according to the transcript on Seeking Alpha, "You can call it several different things, but I think it's really a mechanism for having the ability [to] share in the cost of programming. ...

It's a negotiation, it's a discussion, and we expect to complete our agreements in a way that is manageable for the company and continue the good relationships that we have." One suggestion: Just take it out of Hansen's salary. He'll never miss it.


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