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Frank StantonFrank Stanton
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I was going to say--what's going to happen with that? And what are the implications for advertising?


Well, for the next twenty years--I don't know whether it's twenty years or ten years--I think the program schedules will suffer, because you not only have the three old- fashioned, over-the-air networks--add Fox in there--but then you've got all the cable networks, already for the viewers attention. That will lower ratings. That doesn't mean that people won't be using their receivers, but there'll be a fragmentation.

Now if you have half as much circulation as you had the season before, you have to have awfully deep pockets to support that programming in there. You'll have to go to lower-cost programming or reduce the talent payments that you're making to the existing show. It's going to lower the attractiveness. I use that word advisedly, rather than “quality.” It will impact quality as well, but I don't want to say that quality necessarily follows the amount you spend. But by and large it does. Your writing is better; your production values are better; your talent is better. Better in the sense that--generally more popular.

Well, you can't write that off against advertising income. You can't just sit there and burn, so you're going to have to squeeze someplace. And I think in that squeezing process programming quality will suffer. Now why do I say twenty years? I think it'll take ten years, at least, before the cable programming matter settles down, and there won't be fifty channels and there won't be a hundred channels or five hundred channels--I'll come back to that in a minute--but there'll be many more channels than we have now, so there'll be many options for you to look at something other than CBS or ABC or NBC.

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