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February 07, 2012

Al Gore's Current TV Could Go Belly-Up If Keith F'n' Olbermann Doesn't Start Delivering Big Ratings

I forgot this absurd thing about cable programming: Cable services pay these channels, which you don't watch, with money they extract from you.

We really, really need a menu service for cable. If a channel isn't interesting enough for a viewer to select, and chose to pay for, he shouldn't have to pay for it.

So Current TV is financed to the tune of a hundred million or so per year from cable companies, which extract the money from you without asking.

When Current's contracts come up for renewal in the next several years, some companies may balk at paying so much for a channel no one watches.

The plan may well be the network’s last chance. The lion’s share of its $115 million in revenues comes from fees that cable carriers pay to host the network—a relatively high rate of 12 cents per subscriber—but its ratings are not high enough to sustain those fees, according to an analysis by the financial-data firm SNL Kagan. With carriage agreements beginning to expire in the next couple of years, the network is likely to see a sharp drop in financing unless its viewership turns around. “They’ve got a very limited window here to get their programming in order,” says Derek Baine, an analyst with SNL Kagan. “The channel has been around for a long time and has gone through many iterations, but despite having quite a lot of subscribers, they’ve never really latched on to a significant viewing audience.”

Because this is the Daily Beast, they must of course offer a reason why so many leftwing media outfits fail.

Also working against the plan is a cold reality about partisan news programming: the right just does it much more successfully than the left. For every Rachel Maddow, the Olbermann protégée who found success on MSNBC, there is an Air America, the left-wing radio network that went belly up in 2010. Liberals in the media argue there’s a very simple explanation for this: that conservatives are just a more unified, lockstep audience, while liberals are more trusting of traditional media and more diffuse in their attentions. “There is an audience on the right that for 30 years has been told the entire mainstream media is out to get them,” says Ari Rabin-Havt, executive vice president of the progressive media-watchdog group Media Matters and author of a forthcoming book about Fox News. No such thing exists on the left. Plus, he says, those who are alienated from the mainstream can find their news at liberal enclaves online, like Daily Kos. “The right wing is so much better organized, they’re machines, they’re robots,” says Uygur. And mainstream media are terrified of them. “It’s like, ‘Oh, my God, if I tell people facts, the Republicans will yell at me,’” he says.

I've got a different theory. How about this one? Liberal media outfits actually don't always fail. See The New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN.

Of course liberals refuse to admit those outfits are themselves liberal, which leaves the scratching their heads at the failures of unnecessary -- superfluous --- liberal media outfits like Air America, which is different from the New York Times not in terms of slant but in terms only of nastiness and lesser production values.

The reason that Fox succeeds is that it's an alternative to the clearly liberal major media organizations.

What is Current an alternative to? To Fox? (That is their new plan, to be the leftwing Fox.)

But CNN and CBS and NBC are already the left-wing Fox.

Your big plan is to ad shouting and name-calling? To be both leftwing and vulgar?

That's why these branded-liberal things fail. The leftwing viewpoint is adopted by all but one of the ten biggest media outfits. The only thing a branded-liberal outfit like Air America ads is vulgarity.

And frankly few people like that. Even I, I Fox fan overall, become very annoyed when I feel Fox is pitching too low and being too overt in its own partisan leanings.

What liberals want is a liberal network that pretends to be high-minded on nonpartisan. Like NPR.

Anyway, Al Gore begged Keith Olbermann to stay because Gore is in the uneviable position of having to rely on Keith Olbermann to 1, behave in a professional manner and 2, deliver ratings.

Current TV is on cable? Keith Olbermann is on Current? Keith Olbermann has to get a big audience on cable?

Farewell and adieu ye fair Spanish ladies,

Farewell and adieu ye fair ladies of Spain...

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:35 PM

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