TV networks want fair payment from cable, Web TV

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The entertainment chiefs of five major U.S. television networks said on Tuesday they need to be fairly compensated if their shows are retransmitted on cable or Google Inc’s Web TV, calling it a key industry issue.

“Everyone of these businesses is building these services out on our product,” Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said about devices like Google TV at an industry panel discussion in Los Angeles.

Last week, Fox network parent News Corp blocked Fox shows for Cablevision Systems Corp subscribers in a dispute over fees paid to it for the right to retransmit free-to-air broadcast signals of its network shows. It was the latest in a series of stand-offs between pay-TV operators and U.S. networks.

Reilly called the issue of retransmission fees “probably among the most important” facing network TV, saying it was crucial “to get fairly compensated for the programs we make.”

CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler agreed. “We invest a tremendous amount of time and money in making great shows and we should be justly compensated,” she said.

Walt Disney Co’s ABC, General Electric Co unit NBC Universal and CBS Corp’s last week blocked the Web-based versions of some of their shows from Google’s new TV service.

Tassler, whose network has some of the most popular U.S. shows including the “CSI” franchise and comedy “Two and a Half Men,” said TV networks were the creative minds behind hit programing.

“There is great value to it and we have to protect that. It is important to provide (content), but we just have to be compensated,” she said.

ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee called retransmission fees, the advent of Web TV, and the growth of online streaming “a critical moment in broadcasting.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Richard Chang