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Fox, NBC Expand LNS Relationship

Posted at 5:20 PM ET, on January 16, 2009
The plan for Fox and NBC to share video in markets where both own a station now includes Dallas, as KDFW and KXAS just completed their first week of sharing a helicopter. As is the case in Philadelphia and Chicago, managers from the Dallas stations are in talks about expanding the newsgathering partnership, and selling the content to other media outlets in the market.

"The LNS [Local News Service] initiative is moving along at a steady pace," says Fox Senior VP of News Sharri Berg. She called the Dallas chopper share "the next step in a deeper, more robust partnership."

Philadelphia stations WTXF and WCAU were the first to step into the LNS agreement, followed by the Fox and NBC O&Os in Chicago. Earlier this week, Michael Jack, president and general manager at NBC O&O WRC Washington, confirmed that it and Fox's WTTG are in talks about their own agreement.

Berg says similar discussions are underway in Los Angeles and New York.

Besides cutting costs in pairing up on pricey newsgathering hardware like helicopters, the parties are eager to shop the shared video to other outlets, whether it's newspapers, Websites or even rival TV stations. Partnering Fox and NBC stations continue to keep their newscasts distinct, and to compete against each other full bore.

Berg says LNS is a smart way to adapt to the changing broadcast economy. "It's a time where no one can really afford to keep their operations status quo," she says. "It's a smart way to embrace the future."