Broadcasters form their own NCTC: Cox and Meredith announce buying co-op

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In an effort to try to gain more leverage with program syndicators, vendors -- and perhaps pay-TV operators for retrans down the road -- broadcasters Cox Media Group and Meredith have formed a buying cooperative. 

The united negotiating front by the two station groups will control 18 percent of the U.S. TV market.

"It gives us the benefits of an M&A without actually having to do an M&A," said Paul Karpowicz, president of Meredith local media group, to TV News Check. "We asked ourselves, what can we do together to give us scale and play bigger? It just seems to make too much sense not to do it."

In its morning newsletter, the American Cable Association put it another way: "Are TV stations starting their own NCTC?"

The National Cable TV Cooperative (NCTC) is a collection of nearly 750 small cable operators who have banded together for the purpose of program licensing negotiations. 

"It's the logical next step," Karpowicz added. "We can buy 100 cameras rather than 50."

Certainly, the M&A route to increased bargaining leverage has been challenged for Meredith of late. Media General made a $2.4 billion bid to buy the broadcaster in September. But that was waylaid when Nexstar Broadcasting Group made a bid to buy Media General. 

"If the Media General deal happens, we would love to bring the much bigger group into the co-op," Karpowicz said.

For more:
- read this TV News Check story

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