Network Chiefs Tout Staying Power Of Broadcast

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In a world of DVR and retrans battles, broadcast networks have faced their fair share of threats in recent years. But according to the heads of the five major broadcast networks, who spoke at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society's "Network Chiefs" Newsmaker Luncheon Oct. 26, the power of the broadcast product is here to stay.

"Nielsen tells us that people are watching more television than ever before. People love television. Apple, Samsung, Verizon...they're building their services out on our product," said Fox Broadcasting Co. president of entertainment Kevin Reilly. "The audience is there, people still love our product."

Reilly was joined onstage by NBC Universal Primetime Entertainment President Angela Bromstad, ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee, CW Entertaiment President Dawn Ostroff and CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills to discuss the state of the broadcast television business. The panel was moderated by Lionsgate Television Group president and HRTS president Kevin Beggs.

Despite their confidence, the network presidents were frank about the challenges they face--not the least of which being receiving retrans compensation.

Beggs was quick to address the elephant in the room, asking Reilly what he'd like to say to viewers who have been the casuality of Fox's ongoing battle with Cablevision.

"Take it up with Cablevision...I like to come out swinging with the controversial topics," Reilly joked before explaining that "With all the shifts that are going on in our business, this paradigm shift is among the most important--[that is,] to get fairly compensated. I think we're entitled to get a fair share of [what Cablevision charges customers]."

The other network heads echoed Reilly's sentiments about compensation.

"The more popular our content is--and it is--[the more] we invest a tremendous amount of time and money in making great shows. And we should be justly compensated [for that]," Tassler said.

Read more at B&C here.

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