Staycation Benefits Cable

Cable has been in the news this week for a variety of reasons, the primary one, the big ratings boost they’ve experienced.

A slew of other networks have been breaking their own records as well, thanks to returning programs finding their groove, or new shows making an impact.

USA Has Biggest Summer in Cable History – 2009-09-01 20:27:21 EDT Broadcasting & Cable

Traditionally, summer is a time for reruns on the OTA broadcast networks and the past few years cable has feasted on this opportunity with original programming to mind the gap.  Could the ever-increasing-in-popularity staycation have something to do with the jump in box office numbers and ratings?  And if all broadcast TV is offering is reruns, director cuts and tweet-peats aside, why wouldn’t cable see a nice return on its summer time investment?

When it rains, it pours

But that wasn’t the only cable related news this week.  Oh, no.  Look out because the shackles have come off for Cable MSO’s.

The law brought some limited regulation of cable rates. It also forbade one company from hogging more than 30 percent of the market, preventing cable ops from having undue control over content. As ArsTechnica succinctly explains: "Congress wanted to keep any one cable company from getting so large that it could single-handedly cause a TV channel to fail by refusing to carry it."

Home Theater: Court Knocks FCC Cable Limit

What does this mean for the likes of Epix?  Clearly, if Warner Bros. completes this rumored YouTube deal, they can breath easy for a while.

Rent Movies on YouTube
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Who else has questions?

What happens if it falls through?  Doesn’t the Time Warner conglomerate have a cable network?  What is to stop it from launching a cable network all its own, along the lines of the  Fox Movie Channel?  And once that is in place, block competing channels?

All is not Lost

Luckily Epix has Verizon on its side, but things will most definitely get interesting.

A few months back, the NY Times as the non-musical question: Is NBC becoming a cable company?  After Mr. Gaspin was promoted from NBCU’s cable operations, he was expected to bring the his magic touch for original programming to the broadcast side.  Quite the shift in ideology!  Look up a few paragraphs, USA is the number one cable network, that was his doing.  Now he’s been tapped on the shoulder to raise a last place network back to its former glory.

Do you get it yet?  It’s the content!

Sure we can talk about:

  • Over the Top (OTT):
  • social networks
  • twitter

The bottom line is, you need to have a magnet to build those ancillary services around.  YES is overcharging for their online product, even at the reduced price for the last month of the season.  NBC tried to start its own community.  It is still in beta.  Maybe.

Have you heard of Facebook Connect?  Have they?  And as much as Fox should be applauded for its tweet-peats, it isn’t anything that IM couldn’t have produced ten years ago.

Do you get it yet?  It’s the content!

Produce high quality and the audience will find it.  Even in the middle of a corn field in Iowa.


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