News Corp. COO Chase Carey suggested Wednesday that broadcast networks consider shaking up the traditional development process that collectively has dozens of pilots and lasts from late summer until May.
“Do you need to break some of those rules?” he said on an earnings call. “I think the answer is clearly yes.”
Referring to broadcast as sort of a “volume game,” Carey indicated that cable could provide a guide with its growing number of shorter-run breakout series. Cable networks “take fewer bets and bet deeper and bigger in those bets,” he said.
One network that is succeeding with that model is FX, which helped drive cable ad sales at News Corp. in the first quarter. Double-digit ad growth was reported for both the FX Networks and National Geographic Channels.
In contrast, ad dollars fell in the Fox broadcasting segment, partly because of lower “American Idol” ratings. Still, total revenues increased 15% to $196 million as retransmission consent dollars nearly doubled for the local stations.
Separately, regarding Hulu, Carey said its long-term strength lies with the dual-revenue-stream Hulu Plus. “We’re particularly excited about the subscription side of Hulu,” he said.
Total News Corp. revenues increased 14% to $9.54 billion in the January-March period. Profit jumped to $2.9 billion from $937 million.