Late last year, 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 ten years of experience covering cord cutting and cable TV to list the top five channels I think are most likely to shut down in 2024 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 5 picks for networks most likely to shut down in 2024:
#1 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 Swim 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 vulnerable to shutting down.
Universal Kids lost 9% of its audience in 2023 and has just 21,000 people watching on average during primetime.
#2 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 were just dropped by Spectrum very likely to be shut down.
FXX lost 17% of its audience in 2023 and averaged just 204,000 viewers during primetime. Moving its content to Hulu could help drive up subscriptions. The channel may still be bringing in 204,000 viewers but that content may be better used to drive up subscription to the new Disney+ and Hulu streaming bundles.
#3 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.
This also comes as Boomerang lost 21% of its audience in 2023 and gets just 41,000 people watching it on average during primetime according to a report by Variety.
#4 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.
MTV 2 had just 48,000 viewers on average during primetime in 2023, a drop of 13%. Other MTV networks failed to even show up in the top 150 channels on Variety’s list of most watched channels in 2023.
#5 BET Her, BET Hip-Hop, BET Soul, & More – Recently, Paramount tried to sell BET and all its networks. That sale 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.
Of all the smaller BET Networks, only BET Her showed up in Variety’s top 150 channels. With that, it lost 7% of its audience in 2023 and has just 41,000 viewers during primetime. With the other channels not registering in the top 150 channels it makes it very unlikely some of them will survive much longer.
These are my top 5 most likely to shut down TV networks in 2024. What would you add to this list? Let me know…