The FCC told TV stations this week that they can start to talk openly about their expected take from the agency’s airwave spectrum auction — and some, including Fox Television, are beginning to put real numbers on the process.
Fox says today it expects to see $350 million in 2017. That reflects the FCC’s acceptance of “one or more bids” the broadcaster submitted to give up some of the airwave spectrum its stations use in undisclosed markets.
That’s “not expected to lead to any material change in the operations or results for Fox Television Stations or for any of the affected television markets,” it says.
Yesterday, Gray Television said it expects to see $90.8 million. “Significantly, the actions necessary to receive the proceeds will not lead to job losses and otherwise are not expected to produce any material change in operations or results,” it added.
The number was “well ahead of our expectation of low-$10s of millions,” RBC Capital Markets’ Leo Kulp says.
The FCC’s mind-numbingly complicated auction effort isn’t over: Wireless companies still have to make their final bids — a process that could take months.
But the TV station side is complete. They collectively should see about $19.4 billion, Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker estimates. Any additional cash the FCC collects from its so-called “forward auction” to wireless companies will be earmarked for the Treasury Department’s general fund.
The stations’ take from the “reverse auction” to determine how much they needed to give up some of the aiwaves they use “cleared at a substantially lower number than we had anticipated ($10B vs. our estimated $30B),” Ryvicker says.
That suggests “independent stick stations very well might be receiving the majority of the proceeds.”