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February 13, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Only a few years ago, broadcast networks were content with “must carry” rules that required cable and satellite distributors to include their stations among their basic offerings. But about eight years ago, they realized that more people were now viewing television programs via cable than they were via antennas, and they elected to opt for “retransmission consent” as their way to go. No longer were cable companies required to carry network programming, but if they did, they would have to pay for it. The fees that they began to pay quickly rose exponentially. It’s now estimated that by 2015, the four major networks together will receive about $1.8 billion from the distributors. However, on Wednesday, CBS chief Les Moonves, who had previously said that he expected his company alone to rake in $1 billion in retransmission-consent fees by 2017, upped that figure to $2 billion. “Clearly, that’s quite a jump,” Moonves acknowledged during a conference call, “but we’ve exceeded our target every time we’ve given one and we have tremendous confidence in our ability to realize the full vale of CBS going forward.” In the past, broadcasters have expressed concern that “antenna farm” services like Aereo could put a significant dent in retransmission consent revenue. Moonves, however, shrugged off the Aereo threat on Wednesday, saying that although the company expects to prevail when its case is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April, “we have a whole host of compelling business alternatives that will build our financial prospects” if it does not.