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Cable industry trends forecast

  • Bill Hilary, G.M./exec VP, Comedy Central: “It’s very important to look for a balanced portfolio, not to depend on one show. It used to be that cable companies were looking for one hit. That’s not good for your brand. The second trend is international co-productions. There’s not as much money around. To keep producing quality shows, you are going to have to do that.”
  • Keri Putnam, senior VP, HBO Films: “Nothing that I can put my finger on. Everybody is just doing what works best for them. We are reading about companies that are experiencing layoffs but it’s not something that we have here.”
  • Brian Graden, president of programming, MTV: “The niches have become even more defined. The trend now is toward more scripted premium shows. The top 20 channels are launching premium scripted programs to define their brands. So many more channels are pressured to find the (specific) niches that they serve. The ad sales marketplace is challenging now, too. You’re going to have to secure dollars for original programming. As a cablewide trend, you are going to see that.”
  • Gary Levine, executive VP, original programming, Showtime: “I think there’s a couple of trends. The first is that there’s an economic downturn and there may be some (concern) on the part of ad-supported TV (and the movie studios). People may look to pay cable as an economic buy that can replace going out. Also, pay cable series (are) taking a more prominent position. Years ago, the industry was much more movie-driven.”
  • Julie Weitz, executive VP, original programming, TNT: “Cable companies are going to continue taking up moviemaking for the broadcast networks. Cable is a wonderful opportunity for filmmakers. I think we are looking to make movies that will be talked about.”

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