The beautiful game is a beautiful business. The global popularity of soccer, or football, just seems to keep growing, and the opportunity for big money across the professional ranks seems infinite.
Would viewers pay specifically for the privilege of watching CBS? That's what Time Warner Cable recently asked when it made a very public offer to provide CBS a la carte. CBS' Les Moonves called the offer "grandstanding," and it certainly seemed just another shot fired in the current retransmission-fee war between the two entertainment megaliths. No self-respecting pay TV company would really come out in favor of a la carte programming at this time. But just by mentioning that French menu term, TWC was implicitly asking viewers to rate their loyalty to CBS as a brand.
As Time Warner Cable (TWC) and CBS trade barbs in their fee dispute, there's plenty of posturing to admire as each blames the other for the resulting blackouts. No surprise here, but sometimes the spin can conveniently gloss things over and seem misleading. There's a pretty good example of that on TWC's part in a recent filing with the FCC.
Filling in for TV Watch regular Wayne Friedman while he's on vacation today. Wayne and others have their own approaches to this column, but I always viewed it as news analysis piece summing up the TV industry story of the day. So whenever I fill in, I usually start the same way: I go to Google News and type in "television" -- and voila, my column is almost written for me. Nah, seriously, TV is a subject people love to talk about, and write about, so it's almost impossible to get a fresh angle on it. Unless you pull way, …
As CBS and Time Warner Cable hurl accusations at each other to win public support for their fee battle, who wins? It may keep lawyers and publicists happy and flush, but it's a pain for viewers.
Stealing episodes of TV shows can be good publicity -- especially if you are the number one stolen show. This honor -- dubious to some -- has gone to Time Warner's HBO show "Game of Thrones" for some time, according to many estimates. Now Jeff Bewkes, chairman/chief executive officer of Time Warner, has called the achievement "better than an Emmy."
Print-based publishers continue to move into the one area that continues to garner premium ad rates: video. The New York Times wants to add more video to its website. That step may be a reaction to continued lower advertising results, with revenues down 6% from all platforms, and digital revenues down 2.7%.
In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission shot down the idea of a Dish Network/DirecTV merger. Over a decade later, after stagnant growth or net declines in the number of their video customers-- as well as increased competition -- the merger of the two big satellite TV program services might not seem so bad.
Time Warner Cable has a new plan for CBS, in effect saying: Go a la carte and see if your loyal viewers will pay specifically for your network programming.
Pity the poor cable operator, satellite distributor or telco video provider. Everyone loves their programming, but not so much their actual distribution services.