Fox Networks Group wants its National Geographic Channel to be more like History.
David Haslingden, president and CEO of FNG, speaking at the Nomura Media & Telecom Summit, said that History has become the leader in the non-fiction cable segment by "abandoning the perceived limits of their brand position" and boosting ratings by replacing one-off documentaries by creating character-driven, long-running series.
"Kudos to them for showing us the way," Haslingden said. "Now we're just going to do it better."
On other topics, Haslingen said that creating a national sports channel in the U.S. remains an option for the News Corp. unit and that many of its other cable networks are not receiving a "fair price" from distributors. The company is working on apps that will allow viewers to access its sports and entertainment programming.
Haslingden said News Corp. expects its distribution revenue to continue to increase at a double-digit clip, partly through higher rates and partly through increases in carriage.
"A number of our networks still haven't reached a fair price,' he said. He said 30% of the company's cable deals come up for renewal in fiscal 2014 and 40% in 2015. "That's good news for us because we think these are negotiations where we think the balance of the leverage lies with us."