Our Core Business
Cash for Carriage
ATV has been at the center of retransmission consent ever since Congress passed the 1993 Cable Act. We have negotiated thousands of carriage agreements between broadcasters and their cable, telco and satellite distributors. As a result, we know how to maximize a stations results – beyond anything they can do for them self, or solely through their legal team. Of course, value means cash-for-carriage. ATV did the broadcast industry’s very first cash-for-carriage deal with satellite distributors. Today, ATV is still obtaining cash fees during this retrans period for our clients. We have also been effective with new client relationships where there was already a cash deal in place from the last round of retransmission consent or a new cash offer on the table. It is amazing how low some of those cash deals were, to see what cash had been considered acceptable. ATV has taken clients who may have had just a trickle of revenue from cash for carriage deals – or NO cash for carriage deals – and have really impacted these revenue streams in a positive way.
Turnkey Retransmission Consent Cycle Management
In a way, the three-year retransmission consent has become an on-going process. It takes time, persistence, and patience to craft the very best agreement that can be achieved. ATV brings our clients the added benefit that comes from the respect we have earned while negotiating with cable, telco and satellite operators. They know that we are both honest and tenacious. Relationship management is very important to our clients. ATV delivers results – but we pride ourselves for finding ways to maintain a win-win environment with distributors. Because many of our client’s retransmission consent agreements have staggered end dates, we are always in a phase of finalizing deals. Here's a summary of the ATV retransmission consent cycle process:
Lead-Up. Months prior to the retransmission consent election deadline, ATV completes a customized, detailed market analysis through in-depth examination of all carriage contracts for a station. During this process, we identify current deal points, contract dates, notifications dates, identify weak points that need to be addressed, verify correct contact names, phone numbers and addresses. Generally, we have found that most cable system and contacts list we receive are no more than 75% accurate. Once completed, this market database accurately tracks all cable and telco systems in the market, where a station is and is not carried, where a station has network non duplication rights, imported signals status, etc. ATV keeps this database updated year after year, assuring that we are on top of every critical date when new contracts are due. We make sure that there are no auto-renewals that are missed, even in an older contract where a cable operator may have a sly end date notice requirement.
Station and Group Review. Once the market database is complete, ATV distribution reps consult with corporate and station management to identify market-specific carriage issues, as well as all new station and group deal points that should be included in our negotiations, including cash for carriage targets. It is likely that ninety-nine percent of election letters will enact retransmission consent, not must-carry, but there are certain situations where must-carry should be considered. At the end of this review, we have a comprehensive summary of every market and a strategy for retransmission consent that unifies the station and corporate management teams. During the negotiation process, station management and ATV will communicate regarding the current negotiation status and strategies on regularly scheduled conference calls.
Election Letter Preparation. Thirty to sixty days prior to the election deadline, ATV creates the station's election letters for all of their distributors. We then send an email to the station with a Word document that contains all of the individual letters so that they can be printed out on the station's letterhead and mailed out prior to the deadline. Nothing could be easier!
Negotiation. The negotiation process is where ATV’s extensive experience really pays off. We are able to work at the national level with the key decision makers of the cable, telco and satellite industry. Because of their past association with ATV, these executives know that we will come in well-prepared. We know how to take every issue on the table and weave it into the carriage agreements, positioning our client's goals and diligently working through the negotiations. Many of these negotiations are difficult, but we always find ways to make it happen. In the event the station has no choice but to take their signal off of a system, ATV will support the station's position with talking points for the press, a script for the station's web site, and will continue dialog with the cable companies involved. We know the players in the market, and we keep our clients completely informed of what we hear in the field. We know how to nuance the negotiation, when to stand firm, and how to get to closure. Our success comes from constant attention and endurance.