March 8, 2013

A photo sent to me from Bill Ferry (bottom of this post), reminded me of two ongoing battles in cable TV that could have a big impact on your marketing choices in the future. First, cable companies (distributors) are balking at the practice of channel bundling by content companies, according to the Wall St. Journal (WSJ). Cablevision has sued Viacom, alleging it forces the distributor to carry lesser-known channels like Palladia and MTV Hits in order to also get flagship networks, like Nickelodeon and MTV.

Secondly, those flagship networks are increasingly relying on their own shows to increase viewers. AMC, home of “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men,” booked advertising and affiliate fee gains that even Don Draper could toast. Recently the Wall St. Journal noted that the zombie show’s surging popularity is raising the question whether traditionally smaller cable networks (the ones that are being bundled) can compete for viewers and ad dollars. I think the answer is already in – they can’t. Consolidation (less cable channels) will happen within the next 12-months.

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