Movies Still Basic Cable's Biggest Draw
Original series may draw the most attention, but the bread and butter of most of the top entertainment cable-TV networks remains movies. According to researcher IHS Screen Digest News Corp-owned FX channel, while increasing the number of original series, like Sons of Anarchy and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia , seems justified in spending $20 million and more for basic cable rights for such movies as Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Dictator, Battleship and Madagascar 3 . Indeed, 57 percent of the channel's air time is occupied by movies, the study observed. The result is that since 2011, FX's income has surged 65 percent, from $279.7 million to $460.7 million. The report suggested that the focus on movies also discourages cord cutting -- dropping cable TV subscriptions in favor of Internet content. Many of the films available on basic cable, it notes, are fairly recent with 53 percent debuting after Jan. 1, 2000. But some older movies also draw big audiences. Titanic , released in 1997, aired 55 times on five different channels in 2011, while the most-played film was 1995's Bad Boys , starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence which was repeated 75 times on eight channels.