AFFILS CONTINUE TO BALK AT ABC/CBS REQUEST FOR NFL SUPPORT
While ABC and CBS want their affils to help pay for the
new NFL deals, "some of those affiliates want to know what
they will get in return -- beyond the rights to the games,"
according to Stephen McClellan of BROADCASTING & CABLE.
McClellan: "The answer is far from clear." Some ABC affils
say that "network program exclusivity, a contentious issue
... is among the issues tied to the NFL negotiations."
While ABC wants to "cross-pollinate their broadcast and
cable outlets with resources, programs and talent," the
affils "fear that such cross-pollination will lead to
further network audience erosion." Meanwhile, CBS sent a
letter to its affils saying the net "expects them to make a
'voluntary' contribution" of $40-50M, "preferably in cash,"
to help defray the annual $500M NFL pact. CBS said
individual station contributions "are intended to be an
equal percentage of every station's net revenue from the
NFL, regardless of market size or AFC affiliation." That
percentage "could be" 30% or more of each station's NFL-
derived net revenue. CBS has even hired a "major" N.Y.-
based media buyer to calculate revenue estimates for each of
its affils. But some affils "virtually rule out cash
payments." A "head of one major" group owner: "The real
question is: If we start paying for network programming,
what do we get in return?" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 3/9).