Looks like retransmission consent is going to become an even bigger contributor to TV station and network revenues than most of us expected. SNL Kagan – the research firm that analysts and policymakers frequently cite for industry forecasts – says today that it expects retrans fees to hit $9.3B in 2020 and $8.78B in 2019. Last year it projected $7.64B for 2019. That’s all up from $4.9B this year.
Major broadcast network execs also have good reason to smile: So-called reverse compensation payments – rents that affiliates pay to networks that provide their prime time programming – will increase to $3.22 billion in 2020 from $1.53 billion next year. Even so, SNL Kagan says that local affiliates will see growing revenues from the retransmission consent cash they will receive from cable and satellite companies.
The increases reflect broadcasters’ growing bargaining power with pay TV distributors. By 2017, they will collect an average of $1.32 per subscriber per month, the research firm says. Only five basic cable networks will collect higher rates, led by ESPN with $7.72 and TNT with $1.92. Most regional sports networks also will top broadcasters’average per-subscriber rates.