Competitive Networks Always Tout Growth -- But There Is Always The Reality Show

Networks all love to blow their horns about how they want to be better and bigger. But there can be limits -- and realities.

A brighter future always seems to be in the cards for cable networks adding original programming, more channels and platforms, and additional staff.

John Martin, chief executive officer of Turner Broadcasting, has offered some realities in a cautionary memo. He said Turner has some “near-term challenges we’re facing” which means “we need to shift resources in some instances.” “This may mean staff changes,” he added. “In fact, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t.” Yikes.

The good news: Jeff Bewkes, chairman/chief executive officer of Time Warner, told investors recently that some $4 billion has been budgeted for original programming for Turner networks.



Of course, that may just be what analysts want to hear: Turner has the wherewithal to continue to invest in the future. Now comes some other bit of news that stock market analysts also want to hear: cost containment.

Bewkes has already pointed out some problem areas at TNT and truTV.  Another Turner network, CNN, has had its share of ratings woes, but that is a different kind of TV animal versus the entertainment networks.

Much of this kind of stuff may seemingly be left to the bigger players: broadcast networks that have seen viewership erosion for the past couple of decades and are looking for greater cost efficiencies.

For example, NBCUniversal in 2006 – when NBC was in the depths of last-place finishes among the English-language broadcast networks -- slashed $750 million in expenses and cut 700 jobs, or about 5% of its workforce.

Now it’s the turn of some cable networks to feel the pinch. Many top ten veteran cable networks are also witnessing regular viewership erosion, in part  from upstart mid-level cable networks as well as from newer digital alternatives.

So it comes at no surprise that one of most veteran cable TV network groups is considering -- what else --- cutbacks and realignment.  It’s a different kind of reality show.

1 comment about "Competitive Networks Always Tout Growth -- But There Is Always The Reality Show ".
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  1. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications, June 4, 2014 at 2:41 a.m.

    There was a time, in the good old days, when a station would pause for 'station identification', no need these days because of the annoying on-screen logo. An actor crying for our attention is upstaged by a logo and a promo for another show...I submit this is not progress...

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