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The news today that 21st Century Fox made a desperation move to buy Time Warner Inc. is a sign of things to come. We have learned that TV ratings for both cable and broadcast have been dismal this summer. The TV executives, like ostriches with their heads in the sand, are blaming the World Cup as the distraction, but it is far more serious than that one-off reason.
At Fox Business, the top executive, Kevin Magee, is rumored to be on the short list of people to be fired. We have heard this from multiple sources.
The ratings at Fox Business are falling and people are just giving up. They are even giving the digital Fox.com content serious attention. Online content was always viewed as a cannibalization to the cash cow cable programming.
At the top levels of 21st Century Fox, they are merging the movie and TV business and realigning the top executives.
At CNBC, the ratings there too are in free-fall. Rather than fire producers, the staff will be allowed to re-align with other shows in an attempt to jump-start the programs.
At CBS National News, changes are also in the works. The morning show is becoming the main news show, and plans are in the works to beef up the Saturday news program.
Over at CNN, owned by Time Warner, the news that the company is up for sale has blogs speculating that CNN and Fox could have been merged. CNN ratings have long been in the tank.
As the content providers, such as ESPN, CNBC, Turner, TVT, TBS, USA, History, Discovery, etc, all charge more and more to the cable providers, the monthly cable and dish bills have become too costly for struggling Americans. At the same time, the quality of content is mostly low, causing people to cut the cord and give up on TV.
Don’t blame the World Cup. This is not just a bad summer for TV, it is the beginning of the very end.