Basic cable subs show hankering for movie fare

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In perhaps a hidden statement about the quality of programming in television's new golden age, movie consumption on basic cable hit a three-year high in 2013, according to statistics compiled by IHS Technology. Even more telling, there were fewer unique movies being broadcast during the year, so subscribers were watching more movie reruns than ever.

"Cable networks are seeing the benefit of airing movies that get better non-prime time rating that some TV shows during the same time slots," Erick Brannon, senior analyst for television media at IHS said in a press release. "Drawing in viewers during non-primetime hours is proving valuable, especially during the summer months when more people are at home during the day."

Reading into the statistics even a little further, the nation's psyche might also have been involved in the selection of the movies. Comedy, the researchers said, led the way in both 2012 and 2013 while dramas were at the top of the list in 2011. Oddly, at least for some, the most played movie in 2013 was "Mrs. Doubtfire," a 1993 Fox release which was played 66 times across five networks.

This helped Fox lead the way with 89,623 hours of movie content shown on U.S. basic cable--1,800 hours more than the 88,443 shown in 2011. Fox movies accounted for nearly 6.5 percent of all movie airtime in 2013, followed by Warner.

Among basic cable stations, AMC (which not coincidentally started its life as American Movie Classics) was a top outlet, despite a growing list of quality original programming like "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead."

"AMC sees significant value in relying on movie content to make up the majority of its non-primetime TV schedule," Brannon concluded.

IHS cable movie consumption 2014

For more:
- IHS has this press release

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