Friday, April 15, 2016

RFD-TV fights to stay on major cable networks

RFD-TV, which specializes in rural-interest programming, sometimes has to fight to stay on major cable networks, Michael Kosser reports for Variety.

Most of RFD-TV's viewers "live in small-town and rural areas, but it’s also available to America’s largest cities," Kosser notes. "And yet every so often a big city-headquartered cable carrier will announce that it is dropping the Nashville-based network from its programming."

To fight back, RFD-TV President Patrick Gottsch " turns to those viewers for help and they never fail to respond," Kosser writes. "The latest battle involves the January announcement by Verizon FiOS that it was dropping the RFD-TV network."

RFD-TV lost that battle, but "There may be promising news to come following the Federal Communications Commission’s vote to adopt a Notice of Inquiry to study how independent programmers fare in today’s contracting world of cable companies," Kosser reports.

Gotsch told Variety, “There’s a disconnect, and it’s a growing disconnect, between city and country, where the urban media executives and advertising executives just don’t have the connection with rural America like they used to have.”

"According to Nielsen, RFD-TV averaged 132,000 viewers in primetime for February, ranking 81st among just over 100 cable networks tracked," Variety reports. Billy Frey, the channel's chief marketing officer, told Kosser that almost half of U.S. cable and satellite viewers have access to RFD-TV, which has seen its audience increase 8 percent since 2014. “This type of entertainment is their life,” Frey said. “That’s why we fight, so it will always be there for them.”

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