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Cox CEO: "We should be allowed to own as many stations as we want."


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TVNewsCheck has an interview with Cox CEO Steve Pruett, former Sinclair CEO, that is the requiem for the Cox group as we knew it. If you thought nothing would change under Apollo ownership, does this have some scary news for you.

 

https://tvnewscheck.com/article/top-news/249544/cox-chair-station-groups-need-alliances/

 

Some interesting tidbits:

 

On "Work from Home":

Quote

There are things that you always thought you had to do that you now know you don’t have to do anymore. You can launch your teams directly. They don’t have to come into the station and then go back out. That will be an advantage, especially in big, congested markets.

 

On synergies through scale (see also: hubbing, corporate graphics/music):

Quote

I don’t characterize [Apollo] as a typical PE. They are very strategic; they have thought this through very carefully. The look for businesses that generate free cash flow and where there are synergies available through scale. Broadcasting fits that model.

 

On ownership deregulation:

Quote

We should be allowed to own multiple stations — multiple Big 4s — in a market. We should be allowed to own as many stations as we want. I am very much a pro-deregulation thinker. That is where a lot of our opportunity is yet to be realized. We have been overregulated and out-lobbied by the cable guys, the telephone guys, the wireless guys. The broadcast industry, when it comes to getting ourselves deregulated, has to be categorized as the gang that can’t shoot straight.

 

So yeah, long story short, Apollo is going to turn Cox into Sinclair 2 and use their influence to push through ownership deregulation. 

 

Enjoy your local Cox station while it's still somewhat autonomous. 

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This isn't good...  Well I guess we can look forward to the same cookie cuter local news on multiple stations., this should kill the local tv news business fairly quickly.

 

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The irony is that when he headed up "Chesapeake Television", the idea of it being a smaller, secondary group to Sinclair never really happened, aside from some licensee names, and they ended up being Sinclair stations after all.

 

At least with COX, their only experience to draw on for themselves is Jacksonville, which had to be engineered as such when Newport Television took over Clear Channel's stations.  WTEV (now WJAX) was able to be duopoly bait at the time of its purchase, but they rose to the top 4 when they got CBS from WJXT.  High Plains ended up as the owner then shifted to Bayshore Television, and later Hoffman Communiations under COX.

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Being allowed to own multiple Big 4s in a market? Yeah, there is one glaring example of that already in the Greenville/Greenwood, MS market as Cox (through its merger with Brian Brady's Northwest Broadcasting via Apollo) practically owns all of the broadcast stations there (in part as a result of a series of moves made by the Harker Family over the years).

 

I see Pruett's quote about deregulation as concerning, especially in sub-50/sub-100 markets and lower where ownership rules are more laxed. Side cars are one thing, but with the current corporate-friendly FCC we have in place, the odds are good that Pruett and people like him may actually get what they want in the end.

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Additional tidbits that wasn't mentioned.

 

On alliances with other station groups:

Quote

If broadcasters could ally with one another, we could create sort of an unwired network that we would all own together and then we compete. 

If we could create a national unwired network of local news that operated like a true network, we could get true network dollars. We don’t get true network dollars now. We get unwired dollars. We could do a lot of things if we would start talking about how we can work together.

Pruett figured that with Station Alliances that if the advertising bucket is about $20 billion, then the network bucket would be making $30 billion more than what the advertising bucket is ($50 billion to be exact). However, Pruett did admit that the record of strong group alliances in the media sector hasn't been strong.

 

On the bid to acquire Tegna and other M&A:

Quote

Well, what is public on that is public and I can’t comment — as much as I hate that term — on Tegna per se, but we are going to continue to look to buy TV and it is not a long list of what is out there. Could something have happened in this pandemic that causes some companies that weren’t thinking about exiting to start thinking about exiting? I don’t know. We haven’t really gotten that far yet. We are keeping our eyes and ears open and listening to the marketplace and looking to build a company that will be bigger in TV for sure.

 

As @Weeters said in this post and in the Discord server, Cox wants to become the next Sinclair, the next Nexstar, or even the next Gray.

 

And I think that with Meredith eventually going on the market (and potentially Tegna) I think that we're seeing the beginnings of a 4th mega station group here in this country.

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On 6/2/2020 at 5:03 PM, DENDude said:

This isn't good...  Well I guess we can look forward to the same cookie cuter local news on multiple stations., this should kill the local tv news business fairly quickly.

 

 

Just as there is the same cookie-cutter news in multiple newspapers (The Greenville News and Anderson Independent-Mail of Gannett, and The State [Columbia] and The Sun News [Myrtle Beach]); I think Gannett and McClatchy have done the same ruin to newspapers as Sinclair has to television news (and Apollo is slated to do to Cox stations). 

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Combing TV Groups is Against The Law. The exact opposite should be done. The TV Industry would be better off if TV Stations were owned Individually, Hundreds of owners Rather than Several owners. TV is about the Viewers NOT the Employees or the Owners. If the many stations in each market were owned by Individuals - the Advertisers would also benefit for the competition of spot sales.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/6/2020 at 10:17 AM, ma na ma na said:

The TV Industry would be better off if TV Stations were owned Individually, Hundreds of owners Rather than Several owners. TV is about the Viewers NOT the Employees or the Owners.

 

And I feel the same way about newspapers-- that industry would have been a lot better off if papers continued to be owned individually instead of being part of large conglomerates (Gannett/UTN owns practically every paper in Wisconsin, for instance; you can't go anywhere there where there isn't a Gannett/UTN paper); newspapers are supposed to be about the readers, and not the employees or owners.

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  • 3 months later...
On 6/2/2020 at 1:24 AM, Weeters said:

TVNewsCheck has an interview with Cox CEO Steve Pruett, former Sinclair CEO, that is the requiem for the Cox group as we knew it. If you thought nothing would change under Apollo ownership, does this have some scary news for you.

 

https://tvnewscheck.com/article/top-news/249544/cox-chair-station-groups-need-alliances/

 

Some interesting tidbits:

 

On "Work from Home":

 

On synergies through scale (see also: hubbing, corporate graphics/music):

 

On ownership deregulation:

 

So yeah, long story short, Apollo is going to turn Cox into Sinclair 2 and use their influence to push through ownership deregulation. 

 

Enjoy your local Cox station while it's still somewhat autonomous. 

Sorry to revive this thread but I was just old by my CMG source that The KIRO 7 Tonight graphics will soon be the new standard package for Cox as Apollo is still rolling out the (station here) TONIGHT branding group wide. I didn’t get told what date these will be switched over to the standard package, but now I question about how WSB will implement them.

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