Originally published: November 11, 2009
Last updated: November 11, 2009 - 9:06pm
[Commentary] Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes can feel pretty good about not buying a big broadcast network like NBC. But there's more to this big broadcast TV story. "The broadcast networks have fewer people watching, for shorter times of day, lower and declining ratings; they have reducing revenue from advertising, they have declining programming budgets and lower earnings, so they have fewer of the scripted shows than they used to have," says Bewkes, chairman and chief executive officer of Time Warner. "So therefore their business model is becoming increasingly not viable," he adds. "If you look at broadcast networks, which are the only ones in TV that have 'free' aspect, if they don't get some form of carriage fee, they may not survive." This also goes for the CW -- we're assuming. That small broadcast network is co-owned by Time Warner (along with and CBS Corp.) CW isn't highlighted in earning call conversations, which instead focus on HBO, TNT, TBS, and CNN. Media analysts have speculated that NBC, under the control of cable system giant Comcast Corp, would definitely be a candidate to transition into a cable network -- or least get a sizable monthly fee for its TV stations and affiliates in the form of retransmission fees.
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