The biggest fear in TV is unbundling, and that’s why the recent rebranding of several small cable channels should be watched closely by both providers and programmers, says Ashley Swartz, Founder and CEO of Furious Minds in her commentary on the state of the business.
She points to the rebranding of six channels including News Corp.’s Speed. Changing the name and the programming might help a channel command more subscription fees from operators, but it’s unclear if this strategy will pay off. She says: “I’m not sure if this is hubris or desperation from programmers?” She questions whether programmers expect to “force” cable operators to simply carry these networks or whether these rebrands are minimal improvements to wring more revenue. Regardless of the answer, content has become a business lever and the economics for it are changing, in part because of the growth in over-the-top services. Going forward, she expects that exclusive content will become a necessary part of a service provider’s value proposition. “Storytelling is winning,” she adds.
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