Television Revenue Beats Movie Revenue In 2011

According to a study that was recently made public, movie sales were not as high as revenue produced by television shows, in the year 2011. This study was comprised of the annual reports released by five of the largest media companies in the United States.

The study reveals that Viacom only made $341 million in revenue from movies, but made $3.85 billion in revenue produced by television shows. Likewise, Disney, TimeWarner, NewsCorp and NBCU all made millions on movies and billions on television revenue for the year. These numbers show that these companies have come to count on television to produce approximately half of its revenue for the year, and more than half of its operating income.

Jeff Sagansky, the former President of CBS Entertainment, and a former Senior Executive for Sony, was interviewed on the information that was released. He said he could remember a time when international buyers only wanted movies, but now all they seem to want is the television content. He finished by saying now, it’s the other way around.

These findings were confirmed, recently, by Bruce Rosenblum, a Chief for TimeWarner television. He said the company’s small-screen productions were responsible for as much as 80 percent of its profits. TimeWarner is the company responsible for producing movies that had global success, such as Harry Potter movies and The Dark Knight, but even with these successes, television still played the bigger role in revenue.

This revenue is made through advertisers, merchandise sales, retransmission fees and syndication for hits like The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, SpongeBob Square Pants, and Touch. Networks also make their money off of cable service subscription fees. These syndication fees can extend to video streaming services, so while there has been some debate about how online content could put a dent in television, these networks don’t seem to be suffering for it. The revenue garnered from syndication only increases with the advent of new network launches and channels.

These findings were only further confirmed by Brian Roberts, a Chairman for Comcast. In 2011, Comcast paid $13.8 billion to buy NBCUniversal. Roberts said Comcast wanted to continue to invest in cable TV programming. At a recent conference, Roberts said the movie industry is much more volatile than the television industry.

The Vice President and Director for Programming for Katz Television Group, Bill Carroll, said the value of successful programming has increasingly grown as the new platforms for different programming have been created. He also said that when a show is successful, the upside is worth the trade-off on the shows that are not successful, costing the company money.

Financial reports and internet gurus have been seen trying to herald the end of cable TV as older generations knew it. There have been several prominent people to come forth and talk about how television is dying, and about how chord-cutting is the only viable option. From this study, they could be in for a very big surprise. Networks are prospering from TV, not dying.


Gary Brock grew up in Syracuse, New York and later graduated from Syracuse University with a major in Journalism. Gary now lives in Los Angeles and has fully embraced West Coast living! He loves to write about various topics from the web and technology to movies and entertainment gossip. Gary’s bound to find and write about all the “latest and greatest” news and topics, so keep checking back here for new posts or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other social network sites.


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Tags : 2011Box OfficeCash CowPrime Time TV