Recently a report from S&P Global Market Intelligence analyst Scott Robson listed the channels he thinks are most likely to shut down. So I decided to take my almost 10 years of experience covering cord cutting at cable TV to list the top 10 channels I think are most likely to shut down and why.
This list is based on countless hours interviewing executives in the industry and my personal opinions. What we are looking at are the networks most likely to shut down first as cord cutting grows. More importantly, these are the networks most likely to shut down as Americans leave cable TV behind and move to on-demand-only services.
My top 10 picks for networks most likely to shut down first:
#1 FreeFrom – Recently, Disney surprisingly agreed to drop FreeFrom from Spectrum the second-largest cable TV provider in the United States. This makes the network very vulnerable as it is almost mostly just reruns. With Disney+ now the place to watch most of these programs already shutting down FreeForm is a lot more likely today than it was a few months ago.
#2 Universal Kids – Kid networks are being hit the hardest by cord cutting. There are already reports that networks like Cartoon Network’s average viewer age is now over 18 years old. We see this with the growth of Adult Swith and the return of classic shows clearly targeting older adults looking to relive their childhood. This makes smaller kid networks like Universal Kids some of the most valuable to shutting down.
#3 FXX – Increasingly, these second networks, like MTV2 and FXX are in real trouble. As a growing amount of original content moves to streaming services like Disney+ and Peacock, there is less for networks like FXX. This makes networks like FXX that just got dropped by Spectrum very likely to be shut down.
#4 Disney Jr. – Just like with Universal Kids increasingly younger kids are not watching cable TV networks. Instead, they are turning to services like Disney+. This makes Disney Jr. one more network that is likely to shut down. Add in that it was also dropped by Spectrum this year and you can see why its days are numbered.
#5 BBC America – AMC has recently been struggling with its streaming services. As it tries to invest in its AMC+ services, shutting down BBC America to focus its content and money into AMC+ could help. Many of the shows on BBC America are expensive money that AMC would likely hope to put into its streaming services.
#6 Boomerang – Boomerang is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery a company that has been extremely aggressive on focusing its efforts on Max, its new streaming service. By putting most of Boomerang’s content into Max it could help grow Max by making it the exclusive home of its classic programming. The network doesn’t cost a lot to run but shutting it down could help Max grow.
#7 Science – Much like Boomerang, moving the Science channel behind the Max and Discovery+ streaming services could help it grow its more profitable streaming services. Look for anything that Warner Bros. Discovery thinks could be more profitable, streaming to become a streaming-only option in the years to come.
#8 MTV 2, MTV Classic, and Other MTV Channels – Look for Paramount to start consolidating its smaller channels like MTV 2 into MTV and Parmaount+. This content could be used to help grow its Paramount+ streaming service more than it would be to help profits from cable TV. Already, Paramount has reportedly been looking at shutting down its smaller networks, and MTV 2, MTV Classic, and other MTV channels are likely high on that list.
#9 Nickelodeon – Unlike Cartoon Network, which has successfully found an audience with Adult Swim, Nickelodeon has been hit hard by YouTube and services like Disney+, taking away younger viewers. As the average age of these networks is now over 18, the future of Nickelodeon as a stand-alone channel could be in doubt as Paramount+ becomes how many watch its shows.
#10 BET her, BET Hip-Hop, BET Soul, & More – Recently, Paramount tried to sell BET and all of its networks. That sail failed to find a buyer at a price that Paramount wanted. Now that Paramount will be keeping the networks, cuts are very likely to happen. We are unsure which of these networks are most likely to shut down, but one or more of them will likely not make it through the next few years.
These are my top 10 most likely to shut down TV networks. What would you add to this list? Let me know…