LIN TV: Hikes in retransmission fees will be smaller 'when market has fully adjusted'

LIN TV, which has been demanding triple-digit increases in retransmission-consent fees from some cable and satellite TV affiliates, has told the FCC that its annual hikes in the fees pay TV providers pay to carry its programming will eventually decrease.

"Retransmission rates are still in the process of adjusting to market levels," John Hane, an attorney at LIN's Washington, D.C.-based law firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, wrote in an ex-parte filing at the FCC regarding an Oct. 25 meeting he and LIN VP of distribution Rebecca Duke had with FCC Media Bureau chief William Lake and other officials at the commission. "Fee increases will be smaller once the market has fully adjusted," Hane added.

LIN TV's filing suggests that the percentage increases that it is demanding from affiliates will be lower in the future, after all of its affiliates agree to increased fees.

LIN TV, which owns 32 stations affiliated with Fox, CBS and other networks, has been one of the more aggressive broadcasters when it comes to demanding increased retransmission-consent fees from cable operators and satellite TV providers. It recently pulled its station feeds from Mediacom Communications for six weeks until the cable MSO agreed to pay increased fees.

With LIN and other broadcasters struggling the grow ad revenue, they are relying more on retransmission-consent fees to boost earnings. In July, LIN reported that it saw a 50 percent increase in digital revenue -- which includes retransmission-consent fees -- during the second quarter. It generated $22 million in retransmission-consent fees during Q2, up from $14.7 million during the same period last year.

Look for LIN TV to post more gains from retransmission-consent revenue when it reports Q3 earnings on Thursday.

For more:
- see LIN's FCC filing (PDF)

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