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SNL Kagan: Retrans Cash May Triple By 2017

Retransmission consent fees could increase from $1.14 billion in 2010 to $3.61 billion by 2017, forecasts SNL Kagan, "with average per-sub fees for cable MSOs potentially more than doubling over time from their 2010 levels through 2017."

The pure-play TV station owners analyzed by SNL Kagan showed retrans to be equal to 52% of their cash flow on average in 2010.

"Overall for the industry, there is no turning back from the push for higher retrans fees," reported Kagan, "given the continued strong differential between the fees paid for certain cable networks versus what broadcast network O&O stations with significantly more viewers receive."

SNL Kagan estimates that ESPN/ESPN HD will receive $4.76 on average sub per month in 2011, compared to less than 75 cents per sub that network O&O stations in major markets are getting.

Kagan reports that retrans fees could rise 28% this year, to $1.46 billion, "thanks to more agreements being struck at progressively higher levels between distributors and carriers."

That figure may jump to over $3.6 billion by 2017.