Here'w an easy TV business quiz: If you were starting a new broadcast network, what would be its target? Women 18-34? Young men? Older citizens?
How about Hispanic-Americans? Census data -- and trends --- show that's perhaps the only direction where there is assured growth. Makes sense then that News Corp. considers this an option, even competing against the likes of Univision Communications and Comcast Corp's Telemundo.
Perhaps a better point of reference is that Spanish-language networks are getting TV marketers to spend more media dollars (but probably not as much as those networks’ executives say is warranted considering viewership).
Other new broadcast networks that started recently were carved out of existing station relationships -- ION, for one, and, before that, The CW (which merged the remains of UPN and The WB). They have had mixed successes.
But recently, The CW graphed on a different kind of business model -- based on a deal from its owners Warner Bros. and CBS Corp -- where Netflix will offer episodes of its shows from previous seasons. CBS and WB executives now say The CW will be immediately profitable, after years of iffy business results.
For a new network going forward, even one that targets the waiting and growing audience of Hispanic- Americans, News Corp. would do well to figure out a broader digital media plan -- like The CW’s -- ahead of time,.
News Corp.’s proposed Spanish-language network MundoFox derives from MundoFox.com, a existing video-on-demand service. But the broadcast network operation will need a bigger digital video distributor or other kind of partner to make it financially worthwhile.
New broadcast networks -- and old ones, like NBC, that are perhaps less profitable than they were years ago -- now seem like big marketing vehicles in the purest sense. They are now just the starting point for TV programs.
But considering the financial results of older and now narrower network-only business models won't cut it. If we are to believe that the future of old-style television is still strong, it will need a helping hand.