(Story seems a bit more about state of TV & broadcast audiences than any political agendas, despite parties involved…posting here rather than P&R.)
Source: Yahoo! Finance
There has been a lot of talk about the death of the TV business over the past 10 years.
And the TV business is indeed beginning to change in ways that will change the status quo for TV companies, especially networks.
But those changes are happening slowly.
And in the meantime, it’s business as usual in the TV industry, which means coining money at a rate that is almost unfathomable to anyone who works in the print or digital-media or even radio businesses.
Case in point?
A cable TV network that no one watched, Al Gore’s Current TV, just sold for $500 million.
Okay, it’s an exaggeration to say that no one watched Current, although that’s exactly what the network’s best-known host, Eliot Spitzer, recently told the New York Times’ Brian Stelter, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that Current’s ratings were lousy.
The ratings were so lousy, in fact, that the network was at risk of getting dropped by Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Nor was the programming that Current TV produces attractive to its new buyer, the Qatar-owned news organization Al Jazeera. According to Stelter, Al Jazeera plans to “shut Current” and replace it with another news network, Al Jazeera America.
So, why, exactly, did Al Jazeera pay $500 million for Current TV if no one watches Current and Al Jazeera plans to just shut the whole thing down?
Because Al Jazeera wanted access to America’s TV viewers–specifically, the cable distribution contracts that enable Current to be watched in tens of millions of American households.
Even after Time Warner dumped Current instantly because of the sale, Current is available in about ~30 million American households.