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U.S. TV Station Retransmission Fees Will Hit $9.3 Billion by 2020, SNL Kagan Projects

Financial analysis company also sees reverse retrans funds reaching $3.22 billion that year

Don’t completely abandon the broadcast TV business just yet, CBS — there is still plenty of money to be made.

Media and communications financial analysis company SNL Kagan expects U.S. TV station owners’ retransmission fees to reach $9.3 billion by 2020. For a current comparison, the company had previously projected $4.9 billion for this year.

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The company sees retrans revenue growing to $8.78 billion by 2019. Last year, the company saw 2019 bringing in an estimated $7.64 billion.

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SNL Kagan also estimates rising reverse retrans compensation rates — which estimate how the funds flow from affiliate, and owned and operated stations back to their network partners — based on its study of recent deals. That would lead to a higher percentage of retrans fees coming back to the broadcast networks.

Their projections show that the affiliate reverse retrans funds flow back to the networks could more than double from $1.53 billion in 2015 to $3.22 billion in 2020. The forecast sees reverse retrans payments back to the networks growing to 59 percent of affiliates’ retrans payments over time, even as affiliates’ monthly fees increase in the coming years.

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Those forecasts still indicate net retrans growth for affiliated stations, just at lower rates than in 2013. The growth projections are based on rising monthly subscription fees for TV station owners per recent negotiations, as well as for programming compensation from affiliates.

The average $1.32 retrans fee that SNL Kagan anticipates in 2017 places TV stations above all but five basic cable networks in terms of affiliate fees per subscriber per month. ESPN ($7.72) and TNT ($1.92), for example, are still well above that average mark. Most regional sports networks are projected to be significantly above the $1.26 benchmark.