For NBCUniversal, branded cable channel model is unraveling

For NBCUniversal, branded cable channel model is unraveling

[Ed. – In part this particular thing was always bound to happen.  It’s happening across the industry, including the legacy broadcast bigs.  But the timing matters.  NBC isn’t the hardest hit by the loss of sports programming dollars (that’s probably Disney/ESPN/ABC), but it’s taking a hit like the rest.  For decades, sports advertising revenue has made everything else viable.  We’re getting to the breaking point on that, because of all the combined reasons Americans are tuning out of pro sports broadcasts in droves.  Meanwhile, loss of channel-branding strikes at the heart of bundling for carrier revenue.  The whole structure is coming apart.  The invincible perch from which legacy, channel-branded newsrooms lie to us night after night is going down.]

For years, NBCUniversal’s cable networks, channels like USA, Bravo and E!, were power centers in the media company, each with a mandate to promote their own programming and brands.

Those days are over.

As new Chief Executive Jeff Shell reshapes the entertainment giant to cope with cable TV cord-cutting and the rise of streaming video, he is centralizing decision-making—from which shows get made to which networks those shows should run on—and dramatically slimming down the cable unit in the process.

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“The days of building that singular cable network with its own team and needs are long gone,” said Mark Stern, a former Syfy executive and current president of Echoverse, a podcast studio.

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