Not too long ago, Harvey Weinstein was shouting praise towards the ever-changing television industry and decided he wanted his company to become more intrinsically involved with the growing medium. Seven months later, according to the New York Times, he's changed his mind.
TWC is exploring spinning off it's television division into a public company or selling the company to a strategic partner who would own the company but keep Weinstein involved.
People who were briefed on the plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was still being developed, said Mr. Weinstein was seeking cash to finance a major expansion that could include one or more new television channels.What an interesting development. I wonder how TWC would have the ability to start a new television network featuring their content when they just signed a new pay TV window agreement with Netflix which begins in 2016. Maybe Netflix isn't considered real television under the terms of their deal? There's also this little tidbit from Variety about the current television rightsholder of TWC movies:
Showtime said it will continue to carry The Weinstein Co.’s films “well into 2018.” Premium cabler has exclusive output deal with TWC for movies released in theaters through 2015, which means studio’s films will premiere in their premium window on Showtime and The Movie Channel (as well as multiplex channels) through 2017 and will air in their first windows on the networks into 2018.Back to the NYT article:
At the same time, they said, Mr. Weinstein is considering selling the television unit to a digitally minded corporate giant like Yahoo, Amazon or Google, any of which might use its reach to bolster his company’s presence on the web and elsewhere.
He is also said to believe that a digital buyer like Google or Amazon might become a partner in supporting his films. “Teaming with one of the giants could become a promotional tool for the movie side,” one person briefed on the proposition said.Amazon, Yahoo and Netflix are definitely top contenders for this type of partnership. Netflix already works with TWC as mentioned above while Yahoo has shown recently that it isn't bullish when it comes to spending money for television content. I'm not sure Google would be a viable player in this kind of partnership because they seem more focused on building and molding their own characters instead of relying on the establishment.
Amazon might be the favorite because they have an extensive business besides video which they could use to promote TWC's empire. They also have the most to gain since Prime is still considered second-class compared to Netflix by many observers. TWC's content together with the recent HBO deal they signed could be what it takes to get them over the hump.
Another intriguing portion of the story involved a BBC series:
Weinstein also is betting on dozens of development projects and a handful of foreign series. Recently, for instance, the company acquired North American rights to “The Graham Norton Show,” a BBC talk show, according to the people briefed on its plans.The show currently airs on BBC America and is scheduled to air over the next two weeks on July 6th and July 12th. Because of BBC America's reach, Norton's show has had wider distribution across the United States than it's ITV rival, "The Jonathan Ross Show," which airs Saturday nights at 11pm on Cinemoi, a French movie channel which is only available on Verizon FiOS.
Norton could lose his reach depending on when and how TWC implements the rights they've acquired. If TWC sells it's television division and is able to begin it's own television network with the money it earns, the show could land there. The problem with that prospect is that it could become extremely difficult for the new network to gain carriage across major cable operators like Comcast (it might be smart for TWC to start a network with a cable operator as a minority owner to guarantee some sort of carriage).
It could also land on Ovation TV, which TWC owns 25% stake in, but that might be a problem for Norton's telecast as well because Ovation has had altercations with cable operators who are dissatisfied with their ratings and have threatened to drop the network. The other option? TWC may also keep the show running on BBC America.
Norton's American counterpart on NBC, Jimmy Fallon, hasn't faced the same ordeal because NBC keeps the show in it's empire through airings on CNBC Europe. There are no plans for NBC to sell the show to another company and there's no word as to why the BBC sold one of it's shows to another company.