The Fox TV Network has a different way to shake up the affiliate model

As we ponder “New Realities,” new business models and new ways of thinking, it is probably very important to be as creative and flexible as possible. And smart.

The Fox television network has just announced a new arrangement for its local TV affiliates – in exchange for Fox offering up many of their popular network shows for download (but only after the initial airing). Stations get to share the wealth – sort of.

According to an article just up on the web from Broadcast Engineering Magazine:

“The agreement, whose details have not been confirmed by the parties, allows FOX to make 60 percent of its primetime schedule available online the morning after the shows air, the Wall Street Journal reported. The formula is complex, but stations essentially will get a 12.5 percent cut after costs when a show is distributed to alternative media platforms.”

In the third year of the deal, Fox will have the rights to make 100% of the prime time schedule available for download.

Fox has about 150 affiliates – and FEW of them have strong local programming – unlike the ABC network, which has many strong local stations. Odd, then, that ABC has been much less attuned to local stations in their announcements over making ABC shows downloadable. Although a number of viewers may be very happy about the new options!

Back to the BE article – “As part of the deal, the stations agreed to continue to help pay a portion of the $713 million FOX must pay the National Football League each year under its contract.” That NFL contract was what made the Fox Network and local affiliates “matter.”

The relationship between TV networks and local stations (and cable networks to cable TV, for that matter) is in great flux these days, with no one really sure what the value of distribution paths should be in the future. With the demise of the UPN and WB networks, the CW network is being created – but CW is planning to charge “reverse compensation” to local affiliates for the programming. In response, 20th Century Fox (yes, that Fox) is making “My TV,” a new “affiliate friendly” network that will NOT charge stations for content.

So – it is interesting to remember that deals are coming in all shapes and sizes — and the ultimate ones that work will be the ones…that work. Also, moving to the new does not have to mean throwing away the old.

Just think – an almost endless stream of American Idol episodes, just waiting for you to download! I’m more likely to go for the Simpsons, though.


About sehanley

Musician, journalist, teacher, technologist, consultant & former NPR station manager. A media and entertainment professional, journalist, entrepreneur, technology advocate, educator, student, mentor, manager, and media, musical and theatrical performer. Voice talent and coach for music and spoken word. I also act and sing (mostly jazz, but a lot of experience with choral, classical and musical theater, too). Brass instruments, too, but my AF ofM card lapsed years ago. Heard on the national jazz service, PubJazz, and in the Pittsburgh market on WZUM/Pittsburgh Jazz Channel. I also teach college level courses in media and journalism. I managed the leading NPR/public radio station in Pittsburgh, PA for 16 years, a few years later was GM of the NPR station WBHM in Birmingham, AL. I served for six very busy years on the NPR Board of Directors and have done much volunteer service for national and local organizations in the communities I have been privileged to live and work in. Former NPR Board Member, former President of the Pittsburgh Radio Organization, sometime musician, relentless technology advocate. Opinions expressed are not the viewpoints of any employer or affiliation past or present.
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