Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why Doesn't Tyler Perry Launch His Own Network?

Tyler Perry has become a major force to be reckoned with not only in the box office but on cable television via a partnership with Oprah and her OWN network. His series, "The Haves and Have Nots," has become the most watched television show on Tuesday nights (including broadcast TV). His other two series, "Love Thy Neighbor" and "For Better or Worse" also very competitive and Perry plans to start a new television show this fall, "Single Moms Club".

With all the success that Perry's shows are having, why doesn't Perry leave the OWN network and start his own network to compete with Oprah's network which depends on Perry's shows to make a profit? Despite being best friends with Oprah, this would seem like the best solution financially for Perry to pursue. Here's why it probably won't happen anytime soon though.
  • Perry doesn't own the television rights to all of his movies. Any Tyler Perry network that ends up launching would most likely have to launch without those rights unless he can find a way to make a deal with Lionsgate. 
  • Distribution for a new network isn't guaranteed. Even though Perry's shows are successful on OWN and were successful on TBS, cable operators are being very picky about who they give space to on their dials. OWN has the backbone of the Discovery networks to gain carriage. Unless Perry is willing to cede control of a potential new network to a media conglomerate like Time Warner, Disney, Viacom etc., his network probably won't be picked up.
  • Discovery has dedicated a lot of money and resources to promote Perry's new ventures on OWN. How would Perry be able to promote on his own without giving up control of his product?
If Tyler Perry does start his own network, it wouldn't be a surprise to me if Comcast helped launch the network just as it has helped Magic Johnson and Sean Combs (Comcast is required to help launch at least 4 networks owned by African-Americans over the next eight years). 

But I believe the two most likely outcomes moving forward are either: 

A. an over-the-top paid subscription network which will debut new shows/movies that'll eventually syndicate it's content to other TV networks as well as Netflix or Hulu. It would include a live feed of various shows in the Tyler Perry library and other on-demand choices

B. An eventual increase in his ownership stake in OWN, as IndieWire suggests. Could the plan eventually be for Oprah to leave her network to Tyler Perry? Maybe Oprah moves her brand to an app with solely inspirational programming (her heart's desire) while Perry takes over network operations and has to deal with producing reality shows and scripted series.

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