TV Networks Getting Dropped: What Are The Real Business Issues?

We may have been down the road before when it comes to mid-size cable TV networks struggling and desperate for carriage on pay TV distributors.

We don't get a clear vision of exactly what goes on. Still, we can infer some things.

To build their case to the public, the modestly sized cable TV networks might want to spell out exactly what the monetary and business issues are, with regard to getting carriage on a legacy cable, satellite, telco, or even a virtual pay TV service.

Recently, Newsmax issued a statement about a move by mid-size cable TV provider Frontier Communications to drop the conservative news channel. It said the move was “clearly” political -- and that “they will lose far more money in cancellations” as the result of this.



This is not highly revealing -- in terms of business issues. I would suggest a better argument -- to be a bit more transparent with the good, the bad, or the ugly. You know, show all sides of the story -- like any good journalist would do.

At the same time, legacy TV operators -- particularly mid-size cable operations -- may not be all that revealing when it comes to the obvious: Cord-cutting issues continue to be a major problem, all of which makes cable TV and other providers looking to trim back on expenses and costs -- such as dropping network or channels that demand a carriage license fee.

To get more value, perhaps they should sign on more big TV networks -- if any more are around -- ones with sports or higher-profile live TV content that get lots of viewers. In return, pay TV operators can then sell lots of high-priced advertising inventory.

Sure, there are a lot of big TV network companies with less-than-stellar cable networks in their group that get pulled along in package deals -- Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc to name a few. Maybe they also need to do some trimming. 

But when you are a single-network platform -- like Newsmax -- it becomes a lot harder. Even the likes of NBCUniversal had to axe NBCSN due to programming cost issues -- the sports network wasn't making enough money with its only big live sports content coming from the U.K. Premier League football.

One report says that while Newsmax finally got its renewal deal done with the big DirecTV satellite service, it did not get a carriage license fee the news network wanted. A Newsmax representative responded this way to TV Watch:  “While we can’t comment on the terms of the DirecTV agreement, it is consistent with our recent renewal agreements made in the past year. We are happy with the outcome and look forward to continuing with our strategic plan with future renewals.”

No matter. We need more of transparency. It's not politics -- it's the money.

This TV Watch has been updated.

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