Community

Editors' Picks: Best of 2017

'Multichannel News' staffers recall their favorite stories of the year 12/27/2017 8:30 AM

For the pay TV industry, 2017 was a year marked by further industry consolidation, a major overhaul of FCC regulations, the rise of virtual MVPDs and streaming services, and programming trends driven by viewers seeking escapism in an uncertain world.

With new deals between The Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox, T-Mobile and Layer3 TV, and Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive, as well as the continuing efforts to close the now delayed AT&T-Time Warner merger; and the FCC taking chair Ajit Pai's "weed whacker" to net neutrality, broadband privacy, media ownership and more, any number of stories could be singled out as the year's biggest.

So we asked our staff instead to share their favorites. Here are their picks, listed in chronological order, along with some insights into why.

Exclusive: Trump Team Embraces FCC Remake Blueprint
(John Eggerton, Jan. 15)

J.E.: I got the exclusive on the Trump Administration's plan to transition many of the FCC's enforcement functions to the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, which the recent network-neutrality order reflected.

On the Money: Why Tidy Up If No One is Coming Over?
(Mike Farrell, Feb. 1)

M.F.: Dish Network’s housecleaning had some analysts speculating that it could be putting things in order for a potential deal.

True Crime Confidential: Why Real-Life Tales of Murder and Mayhem Are Filling Network Lineups
(R. Thomas Umstead, March 27)

T.U.: I enjoyed writing this piece because the true crime-drama genre -- which had in recent years played second fiddle to more popular scripted content -- was finally blowing up with viewers and gaining critical acclaim through the depictions and real-enactments of high-profile murder cases, from O.J. Simpson to The Menendez Brothers to JonBenet Ramsey. Coming on the heels of the suprising election of President Donald Trump and his "fake news" diatribe, the genre's focus on well-known facts and events was a welcome distraction from the anxiety much of the country was feeling at the time.

On the Money: Comcast, The Wallflower
(Mike Farrell, April 28)

M.F.: Comcast appeared to be sitting out of the latest round of deal speculation, and rightly so.

On the Money: Crisis of Faith
(Mike Farrell, Aug. 2)

M.F.: Some of the bigger recent media deals have an unusually heavy cash component – Discovery-Scripps a 70% and even AT&T-Time Warner at 50%, which indicated to BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield that even the dealmakers don’t have a lot of faith in traditional media’s future.

The Bauminator: Ataribox to Deliver Games, Streaming Apps
(Jeff Baumgartner, Sept. 26)

J.B.: It was fun to call up childhood memories of playing Yars' Revenge on the Atari 2600, a fun but horsepower-limited gaming console from days of yore, but, at $249 for the new (and more capable) Ataribox, the cost may well exceed even my price on nostalgia.

T-Mobile Inks Deal to Acquire Layer3 TV
(Jeff Baumgartner, Dec. 13)

J.B.: In addition to being a nice exit for a talented group of people at Denver-based Layer3 TV, this deal, will help to set the stage for what should be a wild 2018 for the pay TV industry as T-Mobile, led by the feisty John Legere, tries to disrupt another industry.


(Image by EtiAmmos/Getty Images)