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A&E President Has a Plan to Fight Back Against the Cord Cutting Movement

As expected cable networks are not yet ready to give up their lucrative cable TV business in this age of cord cutting.

Yesterday at the Banff World Media Festival Sean Cohan, president of international and digital media at A&E Networks, said, “If you make great content and your brands are part of the cultural conversation, then you will be part of the skinny bundle.”

“When you are part of the cultural conversation, you get your screen and you know that brand. It jumps out at you,” he said of changing viewer habits. His comments came as TV execs in Banff debated how best to succeed amid an ever-growing maze of networks, streaming services, and international producers getting into the TV game.

So how does A&E Networks plan to do all of this? It seems a sports and news-free bundle is a big part of the plan. A&E Networks is teaming up with AMC, Discovery, and Viacom to offer a service free of news and sports.

Depending on what network you talk to some want it to be a sub $10 service and others have put the price point closer to $20 a month. Their hope seems to be if you can create great content subscribers will be more willing to stay with a traditional pay-TV service if the price is right. There is also hope that services like Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, or PlayStation Vue will pick up the new cheaper skinny bundles.

Cohan went on to argue that strong brands such as A&E, History, and Lifetime are key to engaging and retaining audiences.

Jim Packer, president of worldwide TV and digital distribution at Lionsgate Entertainment, said his own and other content producers have to work harder to find the best programming and platforms to reach viewers.

“We will be able to continue to grow our company and our creative, in spite of the fact that there’s 500 shows being made. Of the 500, there’s a lot of bad ones,” Packer countered.

So the question now is will this skinny bundle be enough to turn around the growth of cord cutting. Or is it too late to stop the rapid growth of cord cutting.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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32 Responses to A&E President Has a Plan to Fight Back Against the Cord Cutting Movement

  1. Avatar
    HiroRoshi June 15, 2017 at 7:21 am #

    Is good to see content owners looking towards embracing OTT services further. If they want to attract consumers to specialized bundles, they also need to embrace OnDemand ‘all in’ with _every_ episode of shows for _all_ seasons like HBO. HBO is also able to do this w/out ads. If they do have ads, they should allow skipping ads in OnDemand/DVR as well.

    Many are getting tired of paying for TV that includes ads. Ideally the OTT industry heads towards two models: Pay service with no ads (Netflix, HBO, etc) or free service with ads (Pluto, Crackle, TubiTV, etc).

  2. Avatar
    troopersam June 15, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    Exactly who has asked for a news free bundle? Sports free I get, people ask for that, but I’ve never heard anybody say “I wish I didn’t have to subsidize all of this news!”

    • Avatar
      mau47 June 15, 2017 at 8:57 am #

      Well, look at the networks teaming up, they have no news channels, so I am sure they will sell it as a plus regardless of if it is or not.

      • Avatar
        Bellingerent June 15, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

        It’s a way to try and get young people. Young people have less of an interest in sports and they have almost zero interest in cable news channels (which tend to average viewers around 70 years old if not older).

    • Avatar
      James Updike June 15, 2017 at 10:58 am #

      I get all my news from the Internet. I have no desire to sit and watch a news network on my television.

  3. Avatar
    Sunny Rain June 15, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    How is this fighting against Cord-Cutting? They’re literally planning on having their own streaming bundle.

    • Avatar
      HiroRoshi June 15, 2017 at 9:08 am #

      Cord Cutting is a confusing term. PayTV carriers like CATV/SAT lose out with ‘cord cutting’.

      There needs to be clearer terms used in the industry…
      1) Traditional PayTV (CATV, SAT, etc)
      2) Streaming PayTV (Sling, DT Now, Vue, Netflix etc) – few know what OTT means
      3) Streaming FreeTV (Pluto, Crackle, etc)
      4) Free OTA (local broadcast)

      Cord Cutting is loss in #1. People moving from #1 to #2 is ‘cord cutting’ to CATV/SAT carriers but not necessarily to content owners.

      • Avatar
        Sunny Rain June 15, 2017 at 9:18 am #

        However you define it, it doesn’t change the fact that nothing here shows A&E fighting cord-cutting. They’re embracing it and putting themselves in a better position to take advantage.

        • Avatar
          HiroRoshi June 15, 2017 at 9:30 am #

          Agree, A&E isn’t using the cord cutting term the same way the industry does. A&E embracing #2 still causes cord cutting to CATV/SAT carriers.

          • Avatar
            Sunny Rain June 15, 2017 at 9:44 am #

            Actually A&E didn’t use the term cord-cutting at all. They just want a service that includes their channels without having to compete with sports. They want to be included. They want their brand to be recognized and more embraced in the cord-cutting world. They’re not fighting against cord cutting.

          • Avatar
            Viktor DoKaren June 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

            Huh. When you put that way, it sounds reasonable. 😉

      • Avatar
        PRMan June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

        #1 to #2 is absolutely Cord Cutting to A&E/Discovery/Viacom, since they aren’t on most of #2.

  4. Avatar
    Robert Kramer June 15, 2017 at 8:52 am #

    The reason I’m a cord cutter is that Sat. & Cable, have great programming packages, but they get you with DVR or equipment fees. If they want to fight back drop the equipment fees, and give free DVR. For example if you have two DVR boxes your looking at least a thirty dollar increase in your bill, plus taxes. The DirectV online package is everything we want (Hallmark Missing) for forty a month, but the holdup no DVR.

  5. Avatar
    cybertec69 June 15, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    Once they remove the liberal filthy garbage anti family brainwashing trash, then maybe they will not be losing so many subscribers.

    • Avatar
      HiroRoshi June 15, 2017 at 9:35 am #

      It goes both ways. There’s also polarizing FOX News and exploitive religious channels. Is why there needs to be bundles that target certain viewers and not force people to pay for categories they don’t want, whether news, religion, sports or ‘filthy garbage’.

    • Avatar
      filmex June 15, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      Another wingnut whose nightmares about “liberals” apparently keep him awake day and night.
      SO SAD.

      • Avatar
        cybertec69 June 15, 2017 at 10:16 am #

        Liberalism is a mental health disorder, you seem to be afflicted with this mental health disorder.

        • Avatar
          Richard smith June 15, 2017 at 10:53 am #

          Anyone that is far right (as you are)/ left Is a mental disorder.

          • Avatar
            cybertec69 June 15, 2017 at 11:19 am #

            I stand corrected, liberalism is a mental health disorder.

          • Avatar
            Richard smith June 15, 2017 at 11:29 am #

            Nope conservatism is

        • Avatar
          Viktor DoKaren June 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

          Believing the only point of view allowed in the world is yours — is a problem. One you seem to have. I’m not sure if that’s because of a “mental disorder”, but, perhaps you should look into it.

          • Avatar
            cybertec69 June 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

            Sorry but I don’t believe in a one world Socialist society, like I was saying Liberalism is a mental health disorder, as we can attest by the derangement syndrome that has taken over the lunatic liberal leftists, it’s been like this since they lost the election, and their Socialist agenda was flushed down the toilet, sorry but you have to earn your keep. The socialist community organizer Obama’s vision is being put to sleep once and for all. Now you have deranged mental midgets trying to kill congressional leaders of our government, as I was saying, Liberalism is a mental health disorder.

    • Avatar
      Michael Allbritton June 15, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

      Wow, really? Just don’t watch it. It’s a very simple concept.

      • Avatar
        Robert Kreutzer June 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

        One reason I like this blog is that it’s a nice break from politics. When it comes to price gouging, lack of choice and just how much the traditional pay-TV services suck, I think these are things people agree on regardless of their party affiliation.

    • Avatar
      PRMan June 16, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

      While I agree that a lot of TV has become this (I’ve quit watching Supergirl and Flash for this very reason), isn’t Discovery the network that shows Duck Dynasty and 19 Kids and Counting and Alaskan Bush People. I mean, it doesn’t get more Conservative than some of their shows.

      Also, am I the only one that sees the irony in a guy talking about “anti family brainwashing trash” having “69” as part of his username?

      • Avatar
        Ben M June 17, 2017 at 10:58 am #

        Maybe he is 69 years old and did not correlate it the way you are?

  6. Avatar
    Richard smith June 15, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    Doesn’t sound like they are fighting back. Sounds like they are conceding

  7. Avatar
    ChanceDM June 15, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    Sports is actually the reason I have a streaming service, but I can completely understand the desire for a sports-free streaming bundle. It’d be a lot cheaper I’m sure.

  8. Avatar
    M BurnedBySC June 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

    They will loose customers in the end the saying the customer is always right still stands true! It’s all about greed and what the mega wealthy CEOs want not what the consumers want! These companies are trying to brainwash people into believing all this propaganda we are something like #12 in internet speeds worldwide! Kenya has better service for far less money, if consumers would stick together and stop taking what corporate America says is the Way to go and the Unlimited Data (up to 22 gigs) I know I am talking about internet but the same greed is affecting TV also they all stick together to squeeze every penny they can out of our pockets!

  9. Avatar
    Sydney Greenstreet June 16, 2017 at 2:42 am #

    Why don’t some of the cable networks such as A&E and Discovery start going onto broadcasting to reach the cable cutters. Since there is up to 6 subcarrier slots available on each HDTV channel, they would only be adding to their revenue by reaching more viewers.