“Reverse-compensation” a dicey matter

According to TVWeek, NBC affiliates are preparing to pay the network for the privilege of being a part of the network. Thus, the Peacock Network becomes the first of the original “big 3” to go this route, joining Fox and the CW. ABC and CBS won’t be far behind, and soon we’ll have a whole new industry in terms of delivering network television to local markets.

For those who haven’t been around all that long, the networks used to pay the affiliates to carry their programming. It was called “network compensation,” and it’s been shrinking every year. When the nets discovered they didn’t need the affiliates to distribute programming, the day of “reverse-compensation” was inevitable.

It comes at a time when affiliate groups can least afford it, and you have to ask yourself where it will all end. One thought about that is to examine the world of syndicated programming, where the best options go to the highest bidders. If affiliates have to pay for their programming, they ought to have the right to shop for the best that’s available, and that would mean, among other things, that broadcasters with deep pockets could improve their lot in local markets simply by buying the best line-up. Contrariwise, the networks could shop their wares to the strongest stations and negotiate the compensation.

In the long run, however, this is mostly irrelevant, for the direct-to-consumer model is here to stay. Personally, I like to surf, but I know people who only watch that which they obtain online, whether through options like hulu.com or iTunes.

Comments

  1. “personally, i like to surf…”

    strange, i never knew you were a surfer.

    i like to surf but my friends say the ones and twos of waikiki don’t really qualify as “real” waves.

  2. Cute. When I was 18, I was one of the founders of the Great Lakes Surfing Association. True. They do surf on Lake Michigan.

  3. How long will it be before local station owners realize the networks don’t need them… and neither do the syndicators? The only real answer is to produce your own content, including, but not limited to, news.

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