Cable TV Concerns? Some Small-To-Midsized Networks Counter: We're Growing

Small to mid-sized linear TV networks may have had a tough time showing off positive results to those pay TV distributors -- particularly higher viewership data.

InterMedia Advertising analysis of Comscore data shows some TV ad-supported networks gaining, especially with older viewers ages 35-54 and the 65-plus group -- when looking at September 2023 results versus September 2022.

For example, entertainment, lifestyle, and news channels including Great American Family grew 111% among adults ages 34-54. Aspire (up by 65%) and The Weather Channel (up 60%); UpTV (15%); NewsMax (40%), and Pop (8%) are just some of the networks showing gains.  

Sports networks -- of all types -- seem to be continuing to do strong business: Fox Deportes (497%); Fox Sports 1 (19%); CBS Sports (15%); Tennis Channel (10%); and Fox Sports 2 (6%).

Still, overall, cable TV network viewing keeps sinking. This includes virtually all of the leading cable TV networks that are more widely viewed.



InterMedia addresses this, noting that Comscore data shows 2023 TV viewership is down “slightly” on advertising networks year-to-year.

Linear TV networks have always had strong, consistent older-viewer data -- not always a strong point among top TV network brand advertisers. Cable TV networks generally have skewed even older than broadcast TV networks. 

For these cable networks, some of these efforts are a last stand to find some positive news amid ever-transitioning viewers to streaming.

But good news is that these networks -- also looking for streaming moves -- continue to foster advertising and promotional gains from their original base on linear cable TV networks.

But all this is not the near-term problem. Of course, this comes at a time where pay TV companies like Charter Communications have made new carriage deals with Walt Disney that specifically targeted dropping a number of smaller Disney channels as part of its overall deal.

Other big TV-network based media companies will have to do the same. One silver lining is that it isn’t just lowering carriage fees for Charter or distributors. 

One key point in these negotiations may be something that always is a secondary negotiation point: Is anyone watching? 

So what remains for these small to mid-cable TV networks? That they can say “yes” and -- at least currently -- are growing. 

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