TV station execs continue to be angry that content and viewers are moving offline to digital sites. The CW, for example, now gets 25% of its viewers via cwtv.com -- and, in the future, should get more viewers from such sites as Netflix.
Stations are alarmed because -- while initial library deals with digital video on demand services like Netflix included ad revenue sharing -- they are now increasingly being left out of the loop.
This, of course, isn’t only hurting local stations but also cable operators, who are increasingly worried that viewers -- especially younger viewers like those the CW caters to -- aren’t interested anymore in buying monthly cable packages. (These same companies, though, do better with those young people in Internet/broadband connections, which are increasingly a dominant piece of their business.)
Even when networks cut in stations, the path is clear: a shift to where networks and content owners might not need stations as much.
The Wall Street Journal touts one big station owner who had many CW affiliates, but has now sold them. In itself, that may not seem like any cause for alarm.
Another account has CW president Mark Pedowitz saying the network is even looking into its affiliates potentially sharing online streaming revenues with the network. Though such revenues may be small, in theory making stations co-partners will only help networks and content owners cross-market episodes on many platforms.
Shifting business partners can be a torturous, painful task. While older consumers still feel comfortable associating with TV stations -- and perhaps even with cable, satellite and telco services -- networks can't afford not to prepare for the next wave of consumers who will have little or no brand associations with these entertainment companies.