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Cable Nets Look to Cash on Emmy Wins

9/26/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Cable networks are hoping
that their big Emmy wins this month
will help propel their brand images
and value among operators and advertisers.

While premium service HBO’s 19
statuettes during the Sept. 10 Creative
Emmy Awards ceremonies and the
Sept. 18 live Primetime Emmys was
predictably tops for cable, first-time
Emmy winner ReelzChannel had the
second-best take for cable with four —
tied with Discovery Channel, Comedy
Central and History.

Reelz’s Emmys collection — all for
its acquired miniseries The Kennedys,
including the award for outstanding
lead actor in a miniseries or movie (Barry
Pepper as Robert F. Kennedy) — has helped put the moviethemed
channel on the cable map, according to network CEO Stan Hubbard. The Kennedys aired on Reelz in April
after History dropped it due to concerns over its content.

“What The Kennedys did for us at ReelzChannel is give
us a lot of credibility with viewers,
with advertisers, and the press,”
Hubbard said. “I think a lot of
people think of us differently.”

DIRECT RATINGS GAINS

The 10 Emmy nominations alone
have helped Reelz more than double
its primetime audience average
since July, and Hubbard said audience
increases should continue
with the Emmy wins. “ReelzChannel
is now an acceptable place to
stop on the dial,” he said.

He said the network has also
generated greater interest from advertisers,
leading to more meetings
and more business, although
he would not reveal specifics.

Even networks like AMC that
have won numerous Emmys over
the years still get a brand boost
from an awards win. The AMC
Networks outlet hopes to curry favor
with affiliates due to its three
2011 Emmys wins — including the
fourth straight win for retro advertising
series Mad Men in the outstanding
drama category.

Ed Carroll, chief operating officer
of AMC Networks, said the
programmer has recently begun
talking to operators about a new,
75-cent rate card for AMC, up from
its current 25 cents per subscriber
(per SNL Kagan). He said the
awareness and critical success of
Mad Men has allowed AMC to expand
its original programming
portfolio — the network will offer
an network record five scripted
series over the next 12 months
including veteran series Mad Men
and Breaking Bad; sophomore
shows The Walking Dead and The
Killing
; and freshman program Hell
on Wheels
— creating greater value
for AMC affiliates.

“We think it’s a 75-cent service,” he said. “We’re creating
new value for our distributors, and we have not done that
by taking things that were previously available on broadcast
and moved them on cable. We’ve done that by creating
shows that simply didn’t exist and would not exist on
the cable platform if not for AMC’s investment into original
programming.”


SUPPORT FOR ACTORS

Other big Emmy wins for cable included a duo of supporting
actor drama awards for Margo Martindale of
FX’s Justified and Peter Dinklage of HBO’s Game of
Thrones
.

In the combined movie/miniseries category — which in its previous, separate iterations had been dominated for
years by HBO — it was a case of sharing. PBS’s Downton Abbey
collected the category’s top honor, as well as victories by
Julian Fellows for writing, Brian Percival for directing and
Maggie Smith for supporting actress.

Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce picked up Emmys for their
work in Mildred Pierce.

Also, famed fi lm director Martin Scorsese grabbed TV’s
top honor for directing a drama series, as he helmed the
pilot of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
garnered its ninth straight Emmy in the comedy/variety
show category, as well as an Emmy for writing in
the category.

March