Q. I read that Comcast is getting rid of the Fuse channel. Why would they do that? I watch it all the time, particularly for its reality shows. — Anne, Owings, Maryland.
Anne, it’s true. Comcast is dropping the Fuse channel, which features shows of interest to multiple cultures such as T-Pain’s School of Business, The 212, and The Parkers.
Fuse, which is owned by Jennifer Lopez’s company, Nuvo TV, also focuses on music programming, as you might imagine.
So why is Comcast dumping it?
The cable operator says the programming is not much different than what you can find on other channels it still carries.
“We regularly evaluate our channel lineup and sometimes make changes to ensure we’re offering customers a wide variety of the content that they want to see at the best value,” Comcast said in a statement. “In this case, much of the content carried by Fuse is similar to content that is also available on other networks. We understand that some customers may find Fuse’s programming of interest, and we will work with them to find other options that will help them continue to watch other content like this programming.”
If you know how to read between the corporate lines, this is Comcast-speak for Fuse having poor ratings. It’s easy for Comcast to drop a channel if the viewership is so small that subscriber protests would be minimal. (It’s worth noting that Verizon recently also dropped Fuse.)
Fuse’s exit is also part of a growing trend in the pay TV industry. Cable and satellite TV operators are now less likely to carry niche channels with small audiences because they are trying to reduce programming expenses.
You see, Anne, Comcast, like its rivals, must pay fees to the channels for the right to carry them, and the company clearly decided here that Fuse’s fees were no longer worth it. The ratings are so low that Comcast did not generate a sufficient return in advertising and customer retention.
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— Phillip Swann