Tribune Media looks to develop more original programming for WGN America, so it’s more like a USA Network, or a TNT. POP, the former TV Guide Network now run by CBS, wants to boost its original programming, which has nice base of 80 million U.S. subscribers.
Meanwhile the Justice Network will start up next year -- another over-the-air, local multicast network looking to make some hay from the likes of former TV executives from National Geographic (Steve Schiffman); NBC Universal (Barry Wallach) and John Ford (Discovery).
Spanish language efforts continue as well. Beside the big players Univision and Telemundo, smaller networks continue to do battle. Estrella TV, which started up in 2009, has vied with UniMas, a Univision network, for the number-three spot among Spanish-language broadcasters. NBC’s bilingual mun2 recently changed its name to NBC Universo.
All this is good new for advertisers still clinging to the big impact of the traditional screen, still the first screen for many. Fourteen broadcast networks exist, around 70 ad-supported cable networks rated by Nielsen out of a couple of hundred overall, and plenty of new local digital multicast-based networks.
And then there is this: A new study looking at New York City-area cable customers -- from New York area cable companies Cablevision Systems and Time Warner Cable -- say that on average, TV homes in the NYC area tune to 25 networks per month, with 90% of the tuning hours being on 100 networks.
No doubt this study would seem to bolster the idea that a big choice of cable networks is still valuable -- especially in the wake of new online networks and content, and the nagging refrain about a la carte cable program packages.
Then there’s the aregular research study always bandied about -- that viewers only watch a fraction of channels they are offered on a “regular” basis. In May Nielsen said that while viewers on average get around 200 channels, they only regularly watch 17.5 channels.
So bring on more networks -- in all shapes and sizes. And if one of your favorites is in the middle of a squabble over carriage fees with a pay TV provider, at least there’s another one to consider.