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Low ratings could end cable deal for Gore's Current TV

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#1 OFFLINE   mitchflorida

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:16 AM

(Reuters) - Al Gore's Current TV has bigger problems to deal with than a potential lawsuit from fired news anchor Keith Olbermann - namely not getting kicked off Time Warner Cable for low ratings.
According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Inc's carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operator's systems are triggered.

If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.

"Time Warner Cable has been flirting with the idea of pulling Current off its systems for some time now," said one of the sources, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.

All of the sources interviewed for this story declined to provide the precise threshold for overall viewers.

Olbermann, the feisty host of the politically tinged talk show "Countdown," was fired from Current TV last week and replaced with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Current TV, founded seven years ago by Gore, the former U.S. Vice President, and business partner Joel Hyatt, accused Olbermann of breaching his contracts and trying to sabotage the progressive public affairs network. Olbermann denied Current's allegations and vowed to take legal action.

If it was not for Olbermann's show, which averaged a total of 177,000 viewers per night, Current TV likely would have missed Time Warner Cable's viewership benchmark, said one of the sources.

The appointment of Spitzer, another outspoken news commentator, led to speculation among Time Warner Cable executives that Current is courting controversy to attract viewers.

Based on the 47,000 total viewers who tuned into the initial broadcasts of Spitzer's "Viewpoint," the source said that "just enough people are tuning in to keep Current over the quota."

Current TV's overall viewership failed to meet Nielsen's minimum reporting standard, which means that the network's average audience was not large enough to be rated, since the new TV season began last September 19.

Despite its low ratings, the network averages a relatively high 12 cents per subscriber per month from cable operators, according to estimates by SNL Kagan. By comparison, MSNBC only gets about 16 cents per subscriber per month, or 4 cents more than Current TV, despite drawing nearly 800,000 viewers per night in prime time.


http://www.reuters.c...E83404P20120405

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#2 OFFLINE   mitchflorida

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:18 AM

If DirecTV is paying $.12 a month for Current TV, which nobody watches that is 12 cents that can be saved next time the channel is up for renewal. Current just repeats what MSNBC does, except does it worse.

#3 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:02 AM

This isn't about DirecTV, it's about Time Warner Cable.
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#4 OFFLINE   Newshawk

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:27 AM

This isn't about DirecTV, it's about Time Warner Cable.

But it bodes ill for Current TV, especially if other systems have a similar clause in the contract.

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#5 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

(Reuters) - Al Gore's Current TV has bigger problems to deal with than a potential lawsuit from fired news anchor Keith Olbermann - namely not getting kicked off Time Warner Cable for low ratings.
According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Inc's carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operator's systems are triggered.

If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.

"Time Warner Cable has been flirting with the idea of pulling Current off its systems for some time now," said one of the sources, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.

All of the sources interviewed for this story declined to provide the precise threshold for overall viewers.

Olbermann, the feisty host of the politically tinged talk show "Countdown," was fired from Current TV last week and replaced with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Current TV, founded seven years ago by Gore, the former U.S. Vice President, and business partner Joel Hyatt, accused Olbermann of breaching his contracts and trying to sabotage the progressive public affairs network. Olbermann denied Current's allegations and vowed to take legal action.

If it was not for Olbermann's show, which averaged a total of 177,000 viewers per night, Current TV likely would have missed Time Warner Cable's viewership benchmark, said one of the sources.

The appointment of Spitzer, another outspoken news commentator, led to speculation among Time Warner Cable executives that Current is courting controversy to attract viewers.

Based on the 47,000 total viewers who tuned into the initial broadcasts of Spitzer's "Viewpoint," the source said that "just enough people are tuning in to keep Current over the quota."

Current TV's overall viewership failed to meet Nielsen's minimum reporting standard, which means that the network's average audience was not large enough to be rated, since the new TV season began last September 19.

Despite its low ratings, the network averages a relatively high 12 cents per subscriber per month from cable operators, according to estimates by SNL Kagan. By comparison, MSNBC only gets about 16 cents per subscriber per month, or 4 cents more than Current TV, despite drawing nearly 800,000 viewers per night in prime time.


http://www.reuters.c...E83404P20120405


Current TV isn't very good anyway!

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#6 OFFLINE   billsharpe

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:16 AM

Current TV isn't very good anyway!


One big drawback is that Current TV isn't HD...
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#7 OFFLINE   DaveC27

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:10 PM

I just to love the channel before it became Current. It would show news programs from around the world and then Gore took it over and relaunched it to a News channel that would appeal to the Youth :mad: Consequently I haven't watched it for an age and wouldn't miss it if they dropped it and allocated the channel to something like BBC World News or Al-Jazeera

#8 OFFLINE   lyradd

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:15 PM

Low ratings could end cable deal for Gore's Current TV...Music to my ears!:D

#9 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:26 PM

The scary thing to me is that the managment of Current have stated that they want to establish themseleves as "a more definitively liberal point of view than MSNBC." :eek:

I am the model of liberal northeasterner...and I can't imagine a MORE liberal news network than MSNBC.

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#10 OFFLINE   fireponcoal

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:42 PM

Can we have the CBC controlled news network that was Current before Current existed please? Forget the name of the network but I really enjoyed it's programming.

#11 OFFLINE   fireponcoal

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:43 PM

I just to love the channel before it became Current. It would show news programs from around the world and then Gore took it over and relaunched it to a News channel that would appeal to the Youth :mad: Consequently I haven't watched it for an age and wouldn't miss it if they dropped it and allocated the channel to something like BBC World News or Al-Jazeera



Oh, didn't see this but yeah, I agree with you.

#12 OFFLINE   ndole

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:06 PM

Does Pravda have a TV channel?
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#13 OFFLINE   Racer88

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:19 PM

Hopefully DirecTV has the same options and intent to excercise them that TWC has. Good riddance and make room for something else. Though unfortunately, it will probably be something almost as useless as this is.

Edited by Racer88, 05 April 2012 - 04:35 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   mitchflorida

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:24 PM

I was shocked to learn that cable and DTV are paying Current TV to carry the channel. If anything, Current should be paying DTV .12 cents a month, not receiving it.

#15 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:43 PM

Hopefully DirecTV has the same options and intent to excercise them that TWC has. Good riddance and make room for something else. Though unfortunately, it will probably be something almost as useless as this is.


Room? We need more SD?
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#16 OFFLINE   kc1ih

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:56 PM

I just to love the channel before it became Current. It would show news programs from around the world and then Gore took it over and relaunched it to a News channel that would appeal to the Youth


The previous channel was known as Newsworld International and was produced in Canada by the CBC. AFAIK it was only on DirecTV and not on Dish or cable. The channel is no longer being produced so I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to come back.

#17 OFFLINE   SamC

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:19 AM

I'm shocked that any provder pays any amount for this channel. As noted in the article, its ratings are "below the reporting threshold". That means they are closer to 0.0 than 0.1, the lowest number Neilsen will report.

Twelve cents a month. For a channel less than 40K people watch. Insane.

#18 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:57 PM

Does Pravda have a TV channel?


MegaHetrz carries a cool channel called Russia Today that is basically a Communist version of Fox News. It carries show after show of smarmy people making snide remarks about capitalism. Honest!

As for Current TV, I don't think they could produce more boring documentaries than they do if they tried.

#19 OFFLINE   WestDC

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:13 PM

MegaHetrz carries a cool channel called Russia Today that is basically a Communist version of Fox News. It carries show after show of smarmy people making snide remarks about capitalism. Honest!

As for Current TV, I don't think they could produce more boring documentaries than they do if they tried.


Sounds Just like the Networks :confused:

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#20 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:50 PM

Great, we're heading for one 24/7/365 one-sided political diatribe channel taking direct orders from a foreigner and a criminal, Rupert Murdoch. Way to provide broadcast diversity, FCC!

#21 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 12:13 AM

There are still plenty of news and commentary channels that, while not equally popular, are still popular enough to earn their keep and be worthy of space on cable and satellite. Somebody is watching. CurrentTV just isn't attracting enough people.

And for channels that are not popular enough to earn their way on (to DBS) they can buy their way on if they are non-commercial and willing to pay a low monthly rate. That is how channels like "Free Speech TV" and "Russia Today" made it on DISH (along with a lot of other channels classified as "Public Interest").

It isn't the FCC who is deciding that CurrentTV shouldn't be on TWC ... it is the viewers of TWC. The FCC, Congress and politics have nothing to do with it.

#22 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 03:48 AM

Exactly my point, they SHOULD have something to do with it. News depts. on nets were never supposed to make money, they were a public service. Part of what allowed the nets to keep their license. Then the FCC allowed the news depts. to be moved into entertainment and have to turn a profit. That's how we ended up in this vast wasteland of non-journalism. Corporate managed news-lite. Journalism need not apply.

So news nets (running mainly op-ed shows) should have to earn their way on TV via audience numbers leading to ad revenues leading to profit? If that was the case, Fox News would have been drummed off the air in 1996. Fox News was a paid propaganda machine from the getgo, it lost $90 mil a year for the first 5 years. No problem, it wasn't set up to make money, it was set up to spread a specific political message. Profit be damned. It was funded by guys with deep pockets to brainwash the masses. Not a news org by any stretch of the imagination.

Should billionaires' money machines be allowed to control what we see of world events, and what we know of candidates? Too late now, it's already happened.

In a free market news environment, Fox News could never have survived. It was force-fed to America by almost half a billion dollars from politically-motivated fatcats.

In a world where only the mega-rich control the media, only the interests of the mega-rich will be served by the media. And that's exactly where we're headed, at about light speed.

Non-billionaire-subsidized orgs like Current and MSNBC don't stand a chance against the Kochs and the Murdochs and the Marvin Davises pumping endless supplies of cash into hand-picked media operations specifically designed to propagate a political message favorable to their interests. One has to survive on its own merits, the other has merely to survive on illegal wiretap-sourced scandal stories and big oil money. While the FCC just twiddles its thumbs and looks the other way.

Edited by Maruuk, 27 April 2012 - 03:58 AM.


#23 OFFLINE   mreposter

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:11 AM

In a free market news environment, Fox News could never have survived.


It was precisely free market capitalism that has allowed Fox News to thrive. No matter what your opinion is of their product, Fox News is a hugely profitable and popular service.

I think what you're arguing for is a return to the mid-20th century notion that radio & TV news divisions should essentially be allowed to run at break-even or at a loss and be subsidized by the entertainment divisions. That might be quant, but it isn't free market.

If you look at the larger and more historical picture of the news, Fox's style is more the norm than the exception. The US and Europe has a long tradition of opinionated and hyped newspapers, radio and TV. Just think of terms like "yellow journalism", "gutter press", and the like. Newspapers have a far longer history of political activism (both left and right) than they do of some notion of absolutely unbiased.

Today we have a nearly endless variety of news and information sources. Though traditional print media is declining, we have more and more tv news and the internet. For every Fox News there is an MSNBC or an Al Jazera or BBC News.

And the internet has given the individual or small group far more ability to get their voices heard, rather than having a few select people controlling all the media outlets. Look at groups like Anonymous, the twitterverse and Julian Assange.

In a free and open market you get the good with the bad. The joy is that you get to decide which is which and not have someone make the choice for you.
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