More Legacy TV Carriage Troubles For More Small To Mid-sized Cable Networks?

On the heels of a potential industry-transitioning Charter-Disney carriage deal, S&P Global Market Intelligence says more niche, small to mid-sized cable TV networks could lose carriage upcoming negotiations.

The biggest threat could come to Paramount Global, where S&P says 18 small to-mid-sized channels -- with many related to the bigger mothership brands such as MTV, BET, and Nickelodeon -- could be in trouble.

There include BET Gospel, BET Her, BET Hip-Hop, BET Jams. For the MTV brand, MTV Classic, MTV Live, and MTV2. Other networks include Smithsonian Channel, POP and TeenNick.

Warner Bros. Discovery could have seven channels facing this situation: American Heroes Channel, Boomerang, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Science, TCM, and truTV.

Comcast Corp./NBCUniversal may see CNBC World,E!, Syfy, and Universal Kids on the ropes.



“We predict the next few quarters will be transformative for the cable industry as streaming services become available to traditional linear subscribers and niche cable networks start being phased out,” writes Scott Robson, senior research analyst. 

Some of this might be of TV network owners' own doing. “The decline in original content production at some networks has resulted in programming lineups full of reruns of syndicated sitcoms and blockbuster films,” says Robson. 

He predicts that TV network owners will make changes: “As a result, some network owners can consolidate their portfolios and launch free ad-supported TV channels to generate ad revenue for library content.”

In the new carriage deal -- struck in mid-September with Charter Communications, Walt Disney lost carriage for its small to-midsize networks: Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo. 

This was done to keep its top viewership networks on Charter’s legacy pay TV cable systems, as well as to give Charter a groundbreaking distribution deal point: the ability to sell Disney's ESPN+ streaming service.

“We expect companies to come to creative agreements that push the industry forward in the transition to streaming."

2 comments about "More Legacy TV Carriage Troubles For More Small To Mid-sized Cable Networks?".
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  1. Tim Brooks from consultant, October 5, 2023 at 4:56 p.m.

    Wayne, the other aspect of this is how rabid the fans of these "lower viewership" networks are. If they are organized and vocal as the fans of SyFy were when I was there, they could take a real bite out of the legacy distributors when dropped. If not, they may be destined for the history books (or maybe streaming-only).

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 5, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.

    Tim, your comment reminds me of the time in the 1960s when NBC cancelled "Star Trek" after a disappointing Nielsen performance  during its second season. As I noted in my book, "TV Now And Then", Media Dynamics Inc, 2015,by then the show had run out of realistic sci-fi storylines and was getting ncreasingly far fetched---like  when the crew encountered "space Nazis who were persecuting "space jews"---called "Zeons"or when they ran afoul of "space Chinese Commies" who were subjecting  primitive space "Yangs"---   Yanks, get it?. Still, lots of Trekkies protested, wrote letters, etc and NBC relented, giving "Star TreK' a renewal order for half of the next season---but it's producer didn't alter his course and the show went even more off kilter which led to a cancellation. This time the Tekkies had little to say.

    As for the situation facing many of the more selectively programmed cable channels today, let's face it, their days are numbered where carriage fees and mass national coverage are concerned. Next up will be many of the smaller streaming services.Too many program sources---too little viewing to support them.

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