Years ago a big cable TV executive, the late cable pioneer Bill Daniels, said he could envision the day when the Super Bowl would move to cable.
I told him I've been watching the Super Bowl on cable for years -- that I've paid money to Time Warner, Cablevision Systems, Charter and other cable operators (DirecTV in recent years) to see the game.
The problem for Daniels and other cable operators is that they never really saw having broadcasting channels as part of their value for consumers. It was just a necessity because of Federal laws requiring them to do so.
It seems that big sporting events -- "Monday Night Football," the "Bowl Championship Series," and now the NCAA Men's basketball championship -- are now moving to "cable." Turner's cable networks will get their first-ever shot with the NCAA in 2016.
It's just a business decision for media owners looking at the bottom line.
With the increasing push in getting retransmission dollars, broadcast networks and stations are finally getting money from cable operators - all due to their part in the TV equation in bringing in viewers, typically much more than cable networks. Sure, it's not nearly enough money -- and the move initially can be tough on local stations, especially on CBS affiliates that have been selling the advertising time locally in the NCAA tournament.
But this doesn't mean there aren't opportunities there. TV stations still have a lot to offer when selling television locally - something the local cable guys still need. Perhaps future forward-thinking TV stations will be looking to do local cable advertising partnerships, maybe as part of their future retransmission deals.
The shifting of programming from broadcast to cable entities doesn't get as much outrage as it did in recent years. That's because we all know programming - especially high-priced programming -- needs more than just advertising sales to support it. That dual revenue stream of those monthly cable programming packages has been a key factor.
If I need to turn to channel 43 or 243 to see a game, it means just a few more buttons to be pushed. The NCAA Men's Championship game has been on cable for years. In five years' time, it'll still be on cable.