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December 8, 2011 | By Meg James, Los Angeles Times
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.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 11, 2014 | By Joe Flint
The Weather Channel is threatening to rain all over DirecTV if it can't come to terms on a new distribution agreement with the satellite broadcaster. The current contract between DirecTV, which has more than 20 million subscribers, and the Weather Channel expired at the end of last year. An extension was agreed upon, but now the Weather Channel is anticipating that DirecTV will drop the service because the two are still at an impasse. The current extension expires Tuesday. "For DirecTV to take us off their lineup would be deeply irresponsible to its customers who not only count on the Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events," David Kenny, the chief executive of Weather Channel parent Weather Co. said in a statement.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 21, 2012 | By Joe Flint
After years of on-again, off-again negotiations, Time Warner Cable has finally struck a deal with the National Football League to carry the NFL Network and its sister channel called RedZone. The cable giant, which has 12 million subscribers, many of whom reside in New York and Los Angeles, was the last big pay-TV distributor not carrying the channels. Under the terms of the deal, the NFL Network will be placed on Time Warner Cable's most widely distributed programming package.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2013 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Netflix has surpassed rival HBO in domestic subscribers in the third quarter, a milestone it credits to buzz surrounding such original series as "Orange Is the New Black," the Emmy nominations for the political drama, "House of Cards," and its exclusive content. The online movie and television subscription service reached 31 million subscribers in the U.S., compared with 28.7 million domestic subscribers for HBO, according to SNL Kagan.  " 'Orange Is the New Black' has been a tremendous success for us," said Chief Executive Reed Hastings in a note to investors.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2012 | By Joe Flint
The Lakers may not have Phil Jackson but at least they have DirecTV. Ending a long standoff, satellite broadcaster DirecTV has reached an agreement to carry Time Warner Cable's SportsNet, which is the new television home for the Lakers. As part of the pact, DirecTV will also carry Deportes, the Spanish-language sister channel of SportsNet. Laker fans who have DirecTV won't be the only ones cheering the decision. Many bars and restaurants with DirecTV have seen their businesses take a hit without having Laker games on the big screen.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 3, 2013 | By Meg James
Cord-cutting continues to nibble away at the U.S. pay-TV industry. According to a SNL Kagan report released Tuesday, the industry suffered a net loss of 217,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. The report also showed that traditional cable companies -- including Time Warner Cable -- are losing more subscribers to satellite and telecommunications competitors that also offer video service. The report illustrated why Time Warner Cable had little choice but to settle its contentious dispute with CBS Corp., which led to a monthlong blackout of CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 26, 2012 | Meg James, Los Angeles Times
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 6, 2012 | By Joe Flint
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.
BUSINESS
October 30, 2010 | By Meg James, Los Angeles Times
Fox Networks' dispute with satellite broadcaster Dish Network, which led to a monthlong blackout on Dish of Fox's regional sports networks as well as the FX channel and the National Geographic Channel, was resolved Friday when the two companies agreed on a new multiyear contract. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Fox immediately restored the signals of its 19 regional sports channels, including Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West, and the two national channels that had been off the Dish system since Oct. 1. Dish Network, based in Englewood, Colo.
BUSINESS
November 6, 2009 | Joe Flint
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 3, 2013 | By Meg James
Cord-cutting continues to nibble away at the U.S. pay-TV industry. According to a SNL Kagan report released Tuesday, the industry suffered a net loss of 217,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. The report also showed that traditional cable companies -- including Time Warner Cable -- are losing more subscribers to satellite and telecommunications competitors that also offer video service. The report illustrated why Time Warner Cable had little choice but to settle its contentious dispute with CBS Corp., which led to a monthlong blackout of CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 14, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Fox Sports 1 has struck agreements with three major distributors that will ensure that the new cable network will be available in the majority of pay-TV homes when the network launches this Saturday, people familiar with the matter said. The three carriers -- satellite broadcasters DirecTV and Dish and cable operator Time Warner Cable -- all have agreed to carry Fox Sports 1 when it launches. Those three distributors combined reach over 40 million homes. A Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said it would have the channel on its systems when it launches.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 19, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
The FCC released a few details of its upcoming report on the state of video competition, which shows that the cable industry continues to lose subscribers to other pay-TV distributors including satellite broadcasters. From the end of 2010 to June last year, the number of pay-TV subscribers increased slightly to 101 million from 100.8 million, less than a percentage point, the FCC said Friday. However, cable's share of subscribers fell to 55.7% from 59.3% at the end of 2011. PHOTOS: Cable versus broadcast ratings Satellite TV firms increased their share to 33.6% from 33.1%, but growth was faster for the telecom companies.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013 | By Joe Flint
News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey made big headlines Monday for suggesting that Fox could go from a broadcast network to cable channel to make ends meet.  The implication is that consumers would have to pay to watch Bart Simpson or catch some NFL football on Sunday afternoons. But for all intents and purpose, Fox is already a cable channel and has been for a long time. Yes, about 10% to 15% of the country's TV consumers still get Fox via antennas, but everyone else receives its signals from a pay-TV provider such as Time Warner Cable or DirecTV.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 29, 2013 | By Joe Flint
CBS and News Corp. apparently aren't worried about cord cutters. Both companies are making investments in pay-television channels at a time when the very business model on which the industry is built faces challenges from changing consumer habits and legal battles. This week, CBS agreed to plunk down $100 million for half of the TV Guide Network and News Corp. announced it was creating FXX, a sister channel to its FX network. FXX is the second major cable initiative News Corp. has in the works: The company also is building a national sports network called Fox Sports 1 that will debut later this year.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 28, 2013 | By Meg James
CBS Corp. this week acquired 50% of TV Guide Network for a relative bargain - a little more than $100 million. Consider that Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based media company, paid roughly five times more - a reported $500 million - to buy Current TV, the channel co-founded by Al Gore. Current was available in about 50 million homes in the U.S., and Al Jazeera saw the purchase as an efficient way to increase its distribution after struggling for years to gain carriage on U.S. cable systems.
BUSINESS
November 23, 2011 | By Meg James, Los Angeles Times
ESPN has a new skipper. Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger on Tuesday announced he was elevating John Skipper to lead the company's sports programming juggernaut. For the last six years, the former Rolling Stone and Spin magazine executive has been in charge of programming and production across ESPN's phalanx of media platforms, including its TV channels, radio network and the Internet. Skipper, 55, will become ESPN president and co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks, replacing George Bodenheimer, who has been running Disney's most profitable division for 13 years.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 14, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Fox Sports 1 has struck agreements with three major distributors that will ensure that the new cable network will be available in the majority of pay-TV homes when the network launches this Saturday, people familiar with the matter said. The three carriers -- satellite broadcasters DirecTV and Dish and cable operator Time Warner Cable -- all have agreed to carry Fox Sports 1 when it launches. Those three distributors combined reach over 40 million homes. A Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said it would have the channel on its systems when it launches.
BUSINESS
March 22, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn and Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - As HBO adapts its television empire to the digital age, it's rolling out the red carpet to Silicon Valley. The pay TV network put on showy "Game of Thrones" season premiere parties this week in Silicon Valley and Seattle, ground zero for the revolution underway in television viewing habits. Digerati turned out by the hundreds to immerse themselves in the fantasy realm of Westeros, some wearing Twitter logo T-shirts, others Google Glass, the Internet giant's yet-to-be-released futuristic eyewear.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 31, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Now that Time Warner Cable has beaten Fox Sports for the TV rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers, it's time for the loser to make a dramatic move in retaliation. And that should be lowering the price of its Prime Ticket cable channel next year after it stops carrying the Dodgers. After all, the Dodgers are the channel's marquee property and without them, ratings for Prime Ticket will take a hit. The fee for Prime Ticket to distributors such as DirecTV and Time Warner Cable is about $2.50 a month per-subscriber, according to industry research firm SNL Kagan.
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