Peter Litman has been a media consultant since 1998. He works in the cable television and Internet industries, most often on projects that involve licensing content and business planning. He has deep knowledge of affiliation agreements and retransmission consent agreements. He is very familiar with “most favored nation” provisions -- how the terms are interpreted and analyzed.
He has a broad perspective on the issues, having worked and negotiated extensively on both the programmer and distributor sides of the cable television business.
In 2018, he served as an expert witness for Comcast Cable in its successful resolution of a Program Carriage Complaint filed by beIN Sports. His Declaration is available publicly (redacted) as part of Comcast’s Answer to the Complaint.
Since 2009, he has been working with a major US cable television sports service to develop its distribution and business development strategy including authenticated broadband distribution (“TV Everywhere”). He has assisted the service to negotiate agreements for its increased distribution on US cable, DBS (direct broadcast satellite) and telco multichannel video systems. He has also done the financial analysis of his client’s actual and potential deal terms to ensure that it stays in compliance with its contractual commitments. He has deep knowledge of affiliation agreements, retransmission consent agreements, “most favored nation” provisions and their interpretation and related analysis. He has a broad perspective on the issues, having negotiated extensively on both the programmer and distributor sides of the cable television business.
In 2014 and 2015 he worked with a major US broadcaster on its distribution strategy. As part of this work, he has led and developed its distribution analytics function – addressing questions about which parts of its distribution (over-the-air, cable, telco, DBS) are most valuable and why. He had also assisted two different independent cable programming services with their analyses of their relationships with their distributors and has recommended approaches to maintain and improve the value of those relationships.
In 2012 he worked on behalf of an innovative, high profile fiber-to-the-home service to secure retransmission consent agreements for its deployment of its service in its first commercial market. The deals were completed on time and on favorable terms.
In 2011 and 2012 he worked with a public interest programmer whose service is distributed on both DirecTV and Dish Network to extend its distribution on cable, telco and over-the-top video platforms. He helped shepherd the programmer’s launch of its channel on the Roku platform. In this effort he has developed its sales presentation, set up and attended meetings with distributors and provided feedback on the development of mobile and other applications.
Previously, Peter worked with a top-five US cable operator to secure retransmission consent agreements for major-network-affiliated stations for the 2009-2011 cycle and also to analyze and suggest strategy for its premium television business (e.g., HBO, Showtime, Starz).
In 2009, a major US sports programmer retained him as an expert witness to assist with litigation with another top-five cable operator.
From 1999 to 2008 he worked with a major US cable programmer on its agreements with cable and satellite operators, helping the company develop its distribution strategy and negotiate the deals to successfully implement it. In those agreements, the company gained and renewed carriage for the company’s multiple linear and non-linear, standard and high definition services. As part of that work, he was involved with the retransmission consent issues of a major broadcast television group. He was actively involved in meetings with all major US multichannel television distributors. He worked on business development, including plans for additional linear channels, high definition and video-on-demand services. He analyzed deal terms and contract compliance, both on a day-to-day basis and as part of litigation. He was also a long-term advisor to the general manager of one of the channels, assisting on all elements of the service’s operation including prioritizing programming investments to grow the business.
From 2000 to 2007, he assisted another major US cable television network. He was integrally involved in developing its online business. That project included writing the business plan to secure funding, acquiring complementary web sites, negotiating a major distribution agreement and working on operational issues like staffing and content strategy. For that company, he also did business development work on both digital cable channels and video-on-demand offerings.
Peter has assisted many other major cable television network operators on strategies for their dealings with distributors and on the business plans for new services. His previous clients have ranged from blue-chip content providers to start-up companies.
Prior to consulting, he spent four years negotiating programming agreements and overseeing investments in cable networks at the board level as part of Rob Stengel’s group at the cable operator Continental Cablevision/MediaOne (now part of Comcast Cable). During that time MediaOne had investments in Turner Broadcasting (now a unit of AT&T, parent of CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network), Food Network, Fox Sports 1 (then Speedvision), NBCSN (then Outdoor Life Network), Golf Channel and E!. Litman worked on MediaOne’s acquisition of a 50% interest in NBC Sports Boston (then SportsChannel New England), which was acquired for a fraction of the price at which Comcast subsequently acquired the other 50%. As a cable operator, he negotiated affiliation agreements with basic and premium cable program services and retransmission agreements with broadcast television stations.
Earlier in his career, Peter worked in several financial roles for NBC at both the network and individual station level. He began his career in the media in radio programming at WBRU, in Providence, Rhode Island, which was the largest student-run radio station in the country at the time. Now, WBRU is a digital media company, still run by college students, and he is on the Board of Directors of its parent company.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Brown University where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies. He earned his master’s at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where he was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma.