Current TV and Olbermann

In a semi-must read, Newsweek’s Rebecca Dana writes about the future of Current TV and Keith Olbermann…

“When we were able to land Keith Olbermann, which was a great programming coup for us, what flowed from that coup was the strategic imperative that we go all in,” Hyatt tells Newsweek. “We are coming now to where a lot of people thought we were always going to be.”

The plan may well be the network’s last chance. The lion’s share of its $115 million in revenues comes from fees that cable carriers pay to host the network—a relatively high rate of 12 cents per subscriber—but its ratings are not high enough to sustain those fees, according to an analysis by the financial-data firm SNL Kagan. With carriage agreements beginning to expire in the next couple of years, the network is likely to see a sharp drop in financing unless its viewership turns around. “They’ve got a very limited window here to get their programming in order,” says Derek Baine, an analyst with SNL Kagan. “The channel has been around for a long time and has gone through many iterations, but despite having quite a lot of subscribers, they’ve never really latched on to a significant viewing audience.”

Dana adds that Current is working on getting a liberal morning program on the air to take on Morning Joe.

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6 Responses to “Current TV and Olbermann”

  1. savefarris Says:

    A Newsweek feature on Current?

    This is a “no wonder your magazine sold for a dollar” joke just waiting to happen.

  2. I want my twelve cents back.

  3. I guess Current’s VIewer (AL Gore ) will be happy to have a new morning show

  4. savefarris Says:

    I guess this post deserves something worth more than just 100% snark. Spud does pull the most interesting point in the article (the upcoming re-license battle). And it makes me think: if Keith thinks that the production values are chintzy now, imagine what they’re going to look like after a 50-75% budget cut.

  5. They should simulcast Stephanie Miller in the morning.

  6. @andy That’s what they’ll probably do given her test run on MS awhile back. I watched Current before they transitioned to their current business model, and the problem is they didn’t keep enough of their old ideas and branding that made Current unique.

    They used to have Google trending now bumpers which showed you what people are searching and talking about at the top of the hour and 1/2.

    The brand bumpers was a news like adult swim-they were really cool

    VCAM was ahead of it’s time before I report on CNN, and some hour long “docs” they had under that brand like burning man EP was great. They had docs from all over the world as well.

    Vanguard is amazing and I would’ve hired amapour to front it over hiring olbermann for countdown.

    Alison Stewart should’ve been hired and revived The Most/or some net news show.

    Current should’ve bought Iconoclast from Sundance Channel, as it would’ve made a great Vanguard Companion

    I think they should’ve kept their brand but cut the MTV style shows and turn the channel into a richer news outlet that does what others
    can’t by long form shows + internet style news shows. Vanguard, Iconoclast, net news hybrid, and a political show down the middle would’ve been far more better than the copycat version of MSNBC they have on now. Plus MS has all the Lib talent on lockdown so their left with 4 people they didn’t pickup. There’s no point to having a 2nd liberal news network.

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