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Re: WHDH drops playoffs

--- "A. Joseph Ross" <lawyer@world.std.com> wrote :
> This, of course, begs the question that I was asking a few days ago, 
> namely, just how much freedom to pre-empt network programming do local 
> stations have these days?

For the most part, they have a lot of freedom. But in order
to preserve a good relationship with the networks, affils almost never
pre-empt the brand name programming(Nightly News, 60 Minutes, World Series,

The major networks simply function as nothing more than
program clearing-houses, buying sports packages from the leauges,
dramas and sitcoms from production companies(unlike ABC,
CBS and Fox, NBC relies heavily on the outside programming for prime-time)
feeding the shows to affiliate stations, which are paid to run network
programs. The network makes its money by selling national advertising
on the shows. Local affiliates such as Ch.7 get compensation fees from
the network and also collect advertising revenue generated by a minimal
number of local spots (2 or 3 minutes per hour) inserted into network
telecasts. Ch.4 or Ch.25 are network owned stations so the compensation
they get by running, say Survivor or the Simpsons, goes back into the
same pocket where it came from.

In the case of a pre-emption, an affiliate passes up network payment in
favor of retaining all the advertising spots for local sales. Networks'
compensation system differs by dayparts -- highest in prime-time and
lowest during weak overnight and daytime hours(the clearance rate at
night is something like 50%). 

In case of baseball pre-emption by Ch.7 next week, there's not much
NBC can do since WHDH is not GE-o&o station. NBC will still
televise the game nationwide and hopefully find another station to
pick it up in Boston, maybe Ch.66 or Ch.68. Ch.7 will lose out on 
NBC compensation, plus any ad revenue from the telecast. 7News is hoping
that a high lead-in from the debate will boost its newscast ratings
at 11pm. Too bad they didn't consider a large audience of miserable
Yankees fans living, working and going to school in the Boston area...

Although, the compensation system will eventually be done away with,
the network affil agreements will be in place for a long time.
In place of a compensation system what you'll see is local
affils buying programs, on a case-by- case basis, from the major networks. 
The network is unable to sell/clear the program in some particular
market, any other station will have a right to bid on it....


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