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What about the implications in terms of Fox investing this much in the building of a
network? What does it say in terms of that?
Well, if you're going to build a network business, you've got to have stations. And
more important than that, you've got to have programs. So they did invest two ways. They
put money into that group of stations, to make those stations flop over and come to CBS.
And they put money into football in order to build their schedule.
The thing that makes a network go, today, is what programming it has. You give me the
program schedule that, let's say, ABC or CBS has, and I can pretty well get any station that I
want to get. CBS isn't going to have trouble getting affiliates. They won't get the kind that
they had before, but they took an independent station in Florida--and perhaps you know this
story. But there was a very strong station in Miami, Florida, which switched from--I guess
from CBS to NBC.
Then CBS had the opportunity of buying the NBC affiliate that was then uncovered or
buying an independent. One would cost a lot of money; one would cost very little money.
They both covered about the same area. CBS bought the less expensive station, with its
schedule--moved it right into first place in the community. So programming is the key to the
success of the network. Indeed, one of the important strategic decisions that was made right
after World War II was that instead of getting our programs from the advertiser or from
other people, we would build our own programs and have those anchor points in our
schedule--that if the advertiser defected, we had the program. So programs are key to it.
And now the word is, in cable, “It's content that counts.” Well, same thing as talking about
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