Analysts ponder on carriage fee disputes

MUMBAI: Several media and entertainment analysts have started sharing their thoughts on cable carriage fee disputes that sprang up in the New Year.

News Corp and Time Warner Cable (TWC) avoided a loss of Fox stations and various News Corp cable networks in systems operated by the second-largest US cable firm by entering into a new carriage agreement that included re-transmission fee payments for the Fox network. 
In a note to investors, adding that the likely deal would also include digital rights and possibly even the relinquishing of several minutes of advertising time by Fox, Thomas Eagan analyst Collins Stewart said, "We expect the companies negotiated a multi-channel, multi-platform agreement which included the Fox broadcast network, and several cable channels."

Eagan said, should the overall agreement translate to an increase in programme fees per TWC subscriber of 25 cents-75 cents, TWC‘s 2010 operating cash flow would take a $12.6 million-$ 37.8 million hit if none of the increase were passed on to subscribers.

"Most likely, TWC will pass on some of the increase to its subscribers," he added. 
On the other hand, Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce pointed out that re-transmission fee deals have typically run three years and argued that monthly per-subscriber fees for Fox are difficult to pinpoint.

"There are many moving parts -- values received by both sides -- that make any one data point fairly irrelevant," he argued.

"Something in the $0.40-$0.60 range might make sense, but again, Fox also gets more HD channel capacity and VOD (non-linear) content revenue sharing; TWC gets access to that programming, revenue sharing and advertising time etc," he added.

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