(Ted Rall’s blog)
Steve Coll, in the New York Review of Books, discussing the latest Roger Ailes bio:
… One of the most fascinating aspects of Fox News’s business model is how its audience’s passion shapes and lifts the network’s profits. Normally, when a media company has an audience as old as Fox’s—the network’s median audience age is more than sixty-five—the business struggles financially. That is because younger people buy the most consumer goods and so advertisers prefer them. But Fox News does not make most of its money from advertising. About 60 percent of its revenue—more than $1 billion annually, or about the entirety of its reported profit—comes from fees paid by cable companies for the right to carry Fox News programming, according to Pew. Cable operators who pay these fees don’t care so much about whether Fox’s viewers are young or old; they care more about having viewers who are addicted enough to what’s on cable TV to fork over monthly subscription fees.
The Fox News audience’s fervor also assures that if a cable company ever tried to throw the network off its system, or reduce programming fees, the operator could expect intense, politicized protests. Call this a kind of extortion, or call it leverage in a market economy, but as a result Fox News today receives from the fees paid to it about ninety-four cents per cable subscriber per month, one of the highest rates in the industry, a third greater than what CNN receives and more than double what MSNBC gets. Fox’s high fees are mainly attributable to its superior ratings, but as the industry analyst Craig Moffett told The New York Times last year, the “level of passion and engagement” within Fox’s following has also lifted its revenue because such intense devotion is not easy for cable operators to find…
Apart from learning, what’s on the agenda for the evening?