Monday, March 5, 2018

Failed Cable Networks: Cable Music Channel

Back when Music Television was still playing music videos, it was the 800 pound gorilla in the Cable world. Being at the top of the heap made MTV a big target for just about everyone. Religious groups said it was immoral and satanic. Others blamed it for being too violent. These “controversies” made MTV the biggest channel amongst the highly coveted tween and teen demographics. Enter the “King of Cable”, Ted Turner.

Ted Turner had proved that a 24/7 news channel could be hugely successful and he was looking to grow his empire with new cable channels and concepts. Thus he created CMC- The Cable Music Channel. Unlike MTV, Ted Turner’s Music channel would not show videos deemed to be too violent, sexually charged or satanic. CMC promised to be the youth pastor version of MTV. With a selling point like that, how could Ted Turner possibly win?

CMC premiered to great fanfare but it quietly died out. It was eventually sold to MTV then shut down. In recent years, Ted Turner claimed that CMC was merely a ploy to help cable operators in their carriage negotiations with MTV. MTV was planning to dramatically increase the fees it charged cable operators due to its popularity. CMC gave cable operators a “challenger” that they could point to as an alternative they could air instead of MTV. He claims this actually worked. Regardless of his actual intent behind starting up CMC, it remains a rare misstep for Turner Cable Networks.