Reuters’ Peter Lauria reports that Current TV could be pulled from Time Warner Cable is certain ratings benchmarks are not met.
If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.
“Time Warner Cable has been flirting with the idea of pulling Current off its systems for some time now,” said one of the sources, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.
Of course, Time Warner can’t just “flirt” with pulling Current, as Current would have to fail to meet ratings benchmarks for two straight quarters, and that wouldn’t trigger any sort of automatic drop. In other words, even if Current failed to meet the minimum benchmarks in this current quarter, it wouldn’t be pulled from TWC systems anytime soon.
A spokesperson for Current said that the channel was not at risk of being dropped by any carrier;
“We do not discuss the terms of our distribution agreements because they are confidential. We are in compliance with all our distribution agreements. And all our agreements are long-term agreements with 2 to 5 years remaining on their terms. We are not at any risk of losing any of our distribution agreements.”
So what are Current’s ratings? While it is too soon to determine how Eliot Spitzer is doing at 8 PM, we can look at the network’s other programs.
According to Nielsen, Current averaged 25,000 total viewers in total day for the week of March 26-April 1, and averaged 41,000 viewers in primetime that week. By comparison, in the first quarter of 2012 Current averaged 26,000 total day viewers and 59,000 primetime viewers.
The top four programs for last week were all “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” and the show was the only one on Current to crack 100,000 viewers, topping out at around 178,000 on Wednesday, March 28.
Number five on the list was the 7 PM airing of “The Young Turks,” which averaged 86,000 viewers on Monday March 26, followed by a Sunday afternoon showing of “Batman Returns,” which drew 82,000 viewers. “The Young Turks,” another “Batman” showing and a reality series “Deadliest Journeys” held the next few slots.
Current’s 9 PM show “The War Room” topped out with 58,000 viewers on Tuesday, with “The Stephanie Miller Show” topping out on Wednesday with 48,000 viewers and “The Bill Press Show” drawing 31,000 also on Wednesday.
Current says that both Miller and Press are up triple digits in their respective dayparts compared to the first quarter of this year. We don’t know what the minimum ratings requirement is for Current.