I disagree on the comment of not a growth sector. I'm currently in the industry and I'll say this. While advertising is holding it's head and may not be growing at the rate it once was the retrans line is what counts. I work with several companies which own a total of 103 stations. The industry is now getting .50-.70 cents a sub for retrans. A company like BELO (I use them because as of Tuesday their number is public knowledge) they will do approximately 60 million dollars this year in retrans. This amount is growing 10-15% a year in current contracts. Two years from now as contracts expire you'll see re-ups in the range of .80 to 1.25 through their terms. Doubling that amount you are seeing now. This retrans growth will be somewhat muted due to the fact that the networks are asking for their share on all new contracts. One good thing about that is as long as we are paying 10's of millions of dollars to the networks our place is safe as a distribution source. The most important thing about all this is this revenue has no cost. We are now getting paid for doing what we have always been doing. And the people paying, cable and satelite companies, have an endless supply of money from the consumer. We ask for a dollar, they up your cable bill. This cycle will go on for another decade. The reason is will continue is in the Nielsen rating books. Not even ESPN can capture the local audience that local news with network programming can capture. Make broadcasters a long term hold and you will be very profitable long term or midterm. Who knows about short.
Just to add to that, I think you are seeing a convergence of the broadcasters and cable channel networks. The cable companies now have to pay the broadcasters like they pay the cable networks. The broadcasters have a lot of room to grow retrans given what highly rated cable channel networks get.