December 8, 2011 |
Call it a cable squeeze play. Cable television networks may be the most lucrative divisions of many large media companies, but the networks are beginning to feel the pinch of dramatically higher programming costs. In 2006, TV sports giant ESPN spent $3.5 billion on programming for its flagship channel. This year, the channel's content costs have mushroomed to $5.2 billion — a nearly 50% jump from five years ago, according to consulting firm SNL Kagan. Programming expenses for Time Warner Inc.'s TNT channel have soared 55% since 2006 to $1.1 billion this year, propelled by sports rights fees for NBA and NCAA basketball as well as a lineup of original dramas including "The Closer" and "Falling Skies.
September 26, 2012 |
The turtles are being unleashed in the nick of time. On Saturday morning, Nickelodeon will take the lid off a slicker, hipper version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. " The armed reptiles, a hugely popular cartoon franchise in the '80s and '90s, are the latest effort by the children's network to combat a dramatic ratings plunge. Over the past year, Nickelodeon has lost 28% of its young audience, according to ratings firm Nielsen. The network's signature programming, "SpongeBob SquarePants" and tween sensation "iCarly," have lost cache with kids who are turning to other channels and other entertainment such as video games.
September 6, 2012 |
The National Football League has struck a deal with Google Fiber for carriage of its two cable channels on the search engine's new broadband distribution service it launched in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan. For the NFL, the deal is another opportunity to take a shot at Time Warner Cable, the only major pay-TV distributor that is not yet carrying the NFL Network or its sister channel RedZone. Time Warner Cable is the cable operator Google is competing with in that region.
November 6, 2009 |
The cost of travel has really gone through the roof. Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. has bought a majority stake in the Travel Channel from Cox Communications Inc. in a cash-and-debt deal that values the little-watched cable network at $975 million. Scripps is betting the channel will be a good fit with its other lifestyle networks, including Home & Garden TV and its majority stake in Food Network (which also counts Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co. as an owner). The steep price caught many analysts by surprise.
December 18, 2012 |
Time Warner Cable plans to drop the small Santa Monica-based channel Ovation from its programming lineup at year's end -- a blow to the independent network that has attempted to elevate TV coverage of the arts and contemporary culture. The nation's second-largest cable television provider said its decision came down to simple economics. There hasn't been enough demand for the channel, which was seeking a modest rate increase when negotiations over a new distribution agreement stalled several months ago. “Steeply escalating programming costs are forcing us to closely assess each network as it comes up for renewal,” Time Warner Cable said Tuesday in a statement.
July 11, 2012 |
As Mike Sorrentino, star of MTV's "Jersey Shore," would put it, DirecTV and Viacom have a situation here. DirecTV dropped more than a dozen cable networks owned by Viacom including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central on Tuesday night after the satellite distributor was unable to reach a new fee arrangement with the media giant to continue carrying its channels. Although the two sides are continuing to negotiate, analysts said the dispute could drag on for weeks. "I think it's going to take a while," said Nomura analyst Michael Nathanson.