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Affiliate Fees Drive Cable Networks Income

The 2011 figures we see just how much the revenue the cable networks generate by simply charging the affiliate providers a per subscriber fee each month. The figures are astounding when you multiply them out.

ESPN, and a majority of the networks on this list, are in roughly 100 million homes. At $5.08  per subscriber, per month, that is a monthly revenue stream of over a half a BILLION dollars, or $6,000,000,000 per year. That is easily more than what they generate in selling ad time for their programs. That may even be more than what their sister network, ABC, generates from commercial sales.

Even a low sub fee, like Lifetime, is generating over $370 million each year. Commercial free Disney Channel has a revenue stream of $1 billion a year.

The things that surprise me from this list is, 1) seeing HDNet listed and in the top 20 with TWO networks. 2) that only 16 networks are charging more than 40 centers per subscriber.

Now we can see why out cable bill is so high.

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