TV One about to turn the profitability corner


Right now radio accounts for 100% of the cash flow at Radio One, but CEO Alfred Liggins told shareholders yesterday his aim is to get that to 50%, with the other half coming from television, Internet and other non-radio sources. He didn’t set a timeline for that shift, but the first move in that direction should come from TV One, which Liggins says will turn cash flow positive by the end of this year. That’s despite distribution roadblocks from three important cable/satellite companies.

TV One President and CEO Johnathan Rogers showed shareholders of Radio One, who are in turn part owners of TV One, a slide showing that the five-year-old cable network has had major success in getting cable/satellite carriage – except for three big holdouts. Rogers expressed frustration that TV One has failed to come to terms with Dish Network, Cablevision and Cable One. Although the latter is not one of the largest MSOs, he noted that it is a major player in Mississippi, where TV One sees a large potential audience for its programming aimed at African-Americans. Rogers noted that talks continue with all three – and in some cases pressure from local politicians as well – so he’s not giving up.

Rogers had lots of success to crow about on the advertising side, presenting a large and growing list of major advertisers who have become clients of TV One. He noted that TV One’s audience is 93% black, compared to only around 70% for BET, so his company is able to make its pitch to advertisers that it is a more targeted buy for reaching African-American consumers.

On the Internet side, Interactive One President Tom Newman spelled out the company’s Internet strategy, which involves a number of company-owned websites aimed at African-Americans, including the recently acquired CCI social networking portfolio, along with selling advertising for the online sites of TV One and the Radio One radio stations. “There’s no dominant player in the African-American space,” he said of the fast-growing online market, but Radio One is trying to position itself to claim that title.