Free Network TV – So Old School

   It may turn out that this is a viable model for network television, which for the last 60 years has been free with an advertising base, but is rapidly losing ground.  While people are still watching television, there are only so many hours a day to watch anything, and the platforms are getting more and more fragmented all the time.  Time shifted viewing on DVRs is adding to this, as cable has for years.  Networks are beginning to put more pressure on cable systems to pay them subscriber fees, the same way that they do to cable stations.  New Corp, the New York Times reports has already started making noise about removing Fox stations from Time Warner Cable systems if the cable company doesn’t start paying up. Fox’s broadcast networks lost 54% of their operating income in the quarter that ended in September, while its cable stations grew 41% in the same time period.  CBS is now receiving up to 50 cents  from Time Warner and Cablevision for each subscriber who receives their signal.    So it looks like the advertising model is about to bite the dust. Of course, making deals with companies like Apple is one solution, but it’s a solution with an unknown payoff.  Charging cable providers yields a known quantity.

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