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CBS’ wandering eye suggests rocky future for TV Network-Local Affiliate marriages: First monogamy, then polygamy, then divorce 5/31/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Affiliates, CBS.
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Relationships between the big three TV networks and their local affiliates have been showing signs of strain recently. For many years, both desperately needed each other. The networks could not reach local viewers and their associated advertising value without broadcasts from the affiliates. The affiliates could not offer quality programming or national/international news without the networks. But with more of us now shunning primetime viewing on the affiliates’ programming schedules in favor of on-demand programming via cable, Internet and TiVo, the networks now seem interested in becoming “swingers.” In a hint of betrayal, CBS’ Les Moonves said yesterday “we feel the wave of the future is getting as much distribution as we can…we should be nonexclusive and get our content out there.” All of which means that each local affiliate will ultimately become just another member of its networks’ programming distribution harem, and an increasingly unattractive member at that. And later, when TV converges onto the Internet, there might not be any reason for networks to keep these marriages together at all.

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