A sign that a recovery continues in the TV business could be
the continued growth of the premium networks in the fourth quarter of 2011.
While the number of multichannel subscribers rose by only
300,000, premium networks added 2.2 million units during the quarter, according
to a new report by SNL Kagan. A year ago, premium networks added 2.5 million
units following two years in which fewer than 1 million units were added.
CBS Corp.'s Showtime, riding the strength of original series
including Homeland and House of Lies, added 700,000 subscribers,
growing to a total of 21.3 million subscribers. Liberty Media's Starz was up
595,000 in the quarter.
HBO, the largest of the premium channels, added 190,000
units in the quarter, according to Kagan, marking a turnaround after racking up
losses in the previous two quarters.
The Movie Channel, often a part of a Showtime package, added
432,000 subscribers. Epix, the newest premium network, added 230,000. HBO sibling Cinemax added 25,000 subs.
For all of 2011, the premium networks added 5.6 million
units to reach more than 30 million, according to Kagan. Cable added about
795,000 new premium units, while satellite added 645,000 and telco added 4.157