Cable TV Contributes More than 60 Percent of Hollywood Profits (Analysis)

5:00 AM PST 01/06/2014 by George Szalai

Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, NBCUniversal and CBS have all seen gains from ad growth and carriage fee negotiations, according to a THR analysis of data from the first three quarters of 2013.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

How dependent is Hollywood on cable TV networks? Thanks to ad growth and gains from carriage fee negotiations, cable network units now contribute more than 60 percent of nearly all entertainment giants' operating profits, according to a THR analysis of data from the first three quarters of 2013. (CBS Corp., which has a smaller cable portfolio, is the exception, though its growth outpaced most peers.)

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Disney, led by ESPN, and Time Warner, home of HBO, recorded the highest profits from their cable nets, while NBCUniversal's cable unit saw the lowest profit growth. And a whopping 89 percent of Viacom's profit now comes from cable.

Notes analyst Matthew Harrigan, "Carriage disputes have generally not had material effect on results."

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