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How does TCM survive without commercials?

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A friend and I were having a discussion about this and I'm sure someone could help us out:

 

How does TCM, or (more generally maybe) Turner TV channels, work financially?---while most continuous-movie channels show commercials, at least in between the movies, TCM doesn't. How do they sustain the network without commercials? And could the other cable channels support their network without commercials?

 

Most of the premium, pay-extra channels (i.e., HBO) don't show commercials either... since TCM is not a premium channel, I wonder what a HBO channel might have in common with TCM... Does HBO work similarly or do the channel subscribers support the network?

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Each cable or satellite system that carries TCM, or any other channel for that matter, pays the channel a small amount every month for each subscriber. A popular channel like ESPN may get $2 or more while smaller more specialized channels like TCM may get well under a dollar .

 

Remember, this is per subscriber and not necessarily per viewer.So if you add all the subscribers from all the cable systems together a channel may have 50 or 60 million subscribers so even a small amount adds up. Still considering that it has no commercial revenue and how expensive it is to operate a cable network, I think that TCM does a terrific job with what it has to work with.

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I guess my question is still unanswered though: if all the other channels are also getting money from the system that pays them, they why is TCM one of the only channels without commercials? Why does TCM choose not to have commercials? I'd like to believe its for their good taste :) but as we know, corporations generally do not make decisions on 'good taste' if its not backed by profits. I wonder how much profit is made by a station such as TCM that has no commercials. Maybe the channel is just some vehicle for making money off owning or distributing the films?

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There's a host of other channels without any commercials as well.It used to be and still is I imagine, that rate given is in direct porportion to to viewship watching.

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HDNETMovies is a channel I keep up with and they make money producing and distributing their own films to theatres and selling them on DVD. IFC and Sundance do the same, and TCM makes money every time Warner Home Video advertises their new DVD's in-between the movies on TCM. So part of your answer can be found in the sale and distribution of DVD's. FMC gets money from DELL, IFC from Target and Heineken.

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"...it's run by a big eastern syndicate, ya know..." - Lucy, regarding Christmas, in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Just a little Christmas joke there, but I do believe they are funded in large part by the Ben Mankiewicz Appreciation Society here at TCM...

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<< I do believe they are funded in large part by the Ben Mankiewicz Appreciation Society here at TCM... >> LOL!

 

Seriously, I've seen 'commercials' slipping in for a while...thinly veiled, but commercials nevertheless. The other day, there was a piece on preserving film/history of music in films, etc, which included shots of Rhino CD's -- thus promoting this product. Believe you me, I bet Rhino paid bigtime for this spot.

 

I know it is a dog-eat-dog industry, and Robert Osborne has sworn there will never be commercials on TCM, but that is the way of the future. Money talks. I bet he cringes every time they tell him to carry a product out with him, when introducing or wrapping up a movie. "...available on our website...." Grrrrrr.

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And remember, most of the other services have to pay for their programming. TCM owns a LOT of the films they show, so there is no licensing fee.

 

The recently acquired Universal/Paramount films probably cost quite a bit, but again, for ANY movie made prior to 1960 - the actors receive NO residuals and the cost to broadcast them would be negligible.

 

We just have to keep our fingers crossed that TCM keeps getting systems to carry it, and continue to give it our support.

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While the Turner Library does have a substantial number of films it doesn't own all the films it shows. Which means it has to rent the post 1950 Warner Brothers films as well as films not in their library from Paramount, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Columbia, United Artists, MGM etc.

 

In addition, every year TCM provides funding for original programming (usually documentaries) that we enjoy.

 

Plus all those promotions that they run monthly promoting the Star of the Month, Summer Under the Stars, Coming Soon and individual promos for various stars, etc all cost money.

 

Also, they provide the funding for Robert Osbourne's "Private Screenings" each year.

 

In addition, the provide the money for all the Osbourne wrap arounds at the beginning and end of films (writing, make-up, camera, lighting, director, etc) as well as the Ben Mankewicz wrap arounds.

 

Plus, they also provide funding for film preservation and restoration each year and they Young Composers Competition.

 

So the yearly budget for TCM is probably more substantial than we realize and how they do it and do it so well without bombarding us with ads every ten minutes is very impressive.

 

I like the ads they run for upcoming and just released dvds. I also have no problem with the ad on film preservation and film music. Rhino helped pay for the spot and it is completely in keeping with the spirit of TCM. It helps educate us all to different aspects of film preservation and our film history.

 

But the one thing we should all keep in mind is that TCM has a yearly budget and that money goes to various ways of entertaining and educating us. A great deal of the money spent ends up on the screen and for that we should be grateful. The "look" of TCM and the schedule of TCM would be a very different animal if they were hoarding the money and spending as little as possible on the channel.

 

Message was edited by:

lzcutter

 

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I don't know about everyone else, but I pay $4.95 per month to have TCM, as I imagine everyone in Central New Jersey does and many other places as well ... seems to me that's quite a sizable income once you add all such subscribers up.

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Don't know if this is still the case, but Rhino was part of the Time-Warner conglomerate, as is TCM. Odds are they got a break on the promo cost.

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Alan: TCM doesn't get all the $4.95 you pay, your cable company does. From what I understand, TCM would be lucky if they got fifty cents out of it. If your cable is telling you that it all goes to TCM your're being lied to. Things like this is why I dropped cable and went to satellite.

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TCM also serves as a prestigious loss leader for the other Turner channels. Moreover, its position in the Turner group allows it to save on many expenses it would have to incur itself if it was a stand-alone channel.

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I also want to share that i don't know about everyone else, but I pay $5.95 per month to have TCM, as I imagine everyone in Central New Jersey does and many other places as well ... seems to me that's quite a sizable income once you add all such subscribers up. Thanks for sharing.

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Edited by: PaulTManuel on Dec 30, 2013 12:42 AM

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>PaulTManuel said ".....but I pay $5.95 per month to have TCM, "

 

 

 

 

You do realize, I hope, that your cable company is gouging you. It's general knowledge, in the cable business that, depending what can be negotiated, TCM gets paid more in the range of 25-50 cents per subscriber. Anything above that goes right in your cable company's pocket.

 

Not say, that if TCM wasn't included in my satellite package, I wouldn't gladly pay six bucks a month to get it, but nobody should think that TCM is getting all that money.

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The revenue from the TCM Wine Club. :lol: 

But seriously, those commercials are starting to irritate me. :unsure: 

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2 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

The revenue from the TCM Wine Club. :lol: 

But seriously, those commercials are starting to irritate me. :unsure: 

I DVR everything I watch on TCM, so I've never seen one. ;)

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20 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I DVR everything I watch on TCM, so I've never seen one. ;)

How did this one bubble up from the past? I mostly, almost entirely, watch TCM live. But LawrenceA, you've never looked better.

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