Content Industry Connect: For New Brands, Cable Is Still King - Broadcasting & Cable

Content Industry Connect: For New Brands, Cable Is Still King

Network chiefs discuss challenges and rewards of starting from scratch
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West Hollywood, Calif.— Despite challenges from digital competitors, cable still offers huge opportunities, network chiefs agreed Wednesday during the “How to Launch a New Brand in Cable: Five Networks to Watch” panel, which was part of the BANFF Content Industry Connect Summit in West Hollywood, Calif.

“The economics of TV allow you to do things that digital-only companies can never do,” said Brad Schwartz, president, TV Guide Network. “When you have that dual revenue stream, you can  do 18 original series.” He added, “right now the best way to do original content is on television.”

Schwartz was one of five executives from new cable networks, who joined Broadcasting & Cable Editor-in-Chief Melissa Grego in conversation.

“A billionaire gives you enough money to actually start a network from scratch, you say yes to that,” said Evan Shapiro, president, Pivot. “The opportunity that all these brands represent that established brands can’t is to disrupt.” The cable industry “ceded over time that ability to disrupt to other people, and I think it’s time for us to reclaim that disruption,” he added.

Brad Siegel, vice chairman, UP Entertainment LLC, noted though that there's a difference between starting from zero and building something on top of another network.

“If someone handed me a giant chunk of money today to start a network from scratch, I wouldn’t do it,” he said, “You’re launching on platforms where you already have distribution.” Without a parent company that has distribution in place, “it would be really, really difficult.”

Adam Stotsky, president, Esquire Network, noted that his network “started building this brand on top of G4. Then we had the opportunity to get into 62 million homes to 75 million homes by shifting to Style”

Speaking to the importance of getting into those homes, Grego asked Andy Schuon, president and founder of Revolt, about reports that his company is looking to buy fellow music network Fuse. “We’re going to grow any way that we can at this point,” he said. “Whatever course makes the most sense for us, we’re going to use it to grow the brand.”

“The economics of TV allow you to do things that digital-only companies can never do,” said Brad Schwartz, president, TV Guide Network. “When you have that dual revenue stream, you can  do 18 original series.” He added, “Right now the best way to do original content is on television.”

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