The FPB Board of Directors voted to keep all current network TV affiliates on the cable lineup.
At Tuesday’s Board of Director’s meeting, FPB staff discussed retransmission consent agreements between the provider and the local network affiliates in Lexington and Louisville. The agreements are renewed every three years. This year’s negations included three Louisville networks (WAVE-NBC, WHAS-ABC, and WLKY-CBS) and four in Lexington (WDKY-FOX, WKYT-CBS, WLEX-NBC, and WTVQ-ABC).
The current agreements expire December 31 of this year. Reaching these agreements allows FPB to continuing carrying these networks with no interruption for the next 36 months.
FPB did not pay retransmission consent fees from 1952-2008. In January of 2009, local affiliates began requesting fees for carriage permission. Since the first round of negotiations in 2009, providers have increased their fee requests from networks at amazing rate (see chart).
After receiving the first round of contract demands, FPB conducted a phone survey of customers through a third party. Survey results and a reduction of the original demands through successful negotiations led FPB Board of Directors to the decision to retain all of the networks.
The retransmission fees, which are a separate line item on FPB customer bills and a direct pass through from the networks to customers, will go from $4.32 per month in 2014 to $9.93 in February 2015. While this increase is substantial, FPB was successful in getting the original ask lowered considerably. FPB Assistant General Manager of Cable-Telecom John Higginbotham said staff should be commended. “The total of the combined original ask would have seen an overall increase from around $800,000 in 2014 to $2.3 million in 2015. We were able to reduce that by nearly a half a million dollars during our negotiations.” Higginbotham continued, “Every provider around the country is going through this issue and while it is a very difficult negotiation, we feel like we got the best deal we could get.”