Most people do not understand the economics of cable TV. Free TV depends exclusively on advertising as its source of revenue. On the other hand, most of the revenue for cable/satellite channels comes from the subscribers. Although advertising is a good source of revenue for cable/satellite, it is not the most important source. That is why MSNBC and CNN can survive without any good content. The only news show on MSNBC that is worth watching is Keith Oberman. And ratings do not make much difference because MSNBC, CNN, and FOX get a fixed dollar amount per subscriber from the cable carrier. The same model also applies to satellite TV
When I was looking at a business model for a liberal cable channel, the big downside was that it was almost impossible to get clearance as a cable channel from Comcast, Time/Warner, DIRECT TV and others. But, if you were able to get into the system through power and cronyism, you could receive a lot of money even if the subscriber did not watch your channel. If the subscriber base of a channel on Cable and satellite is large, the revenue to the channel is quite substantial even without advertising.
When I was reviewing the financial model, cable channels were getting about $3/year/subscriber from the cable and satellite companies. If the subscribers on all systems were 30 million, the channel would receive $90 Million annually whether the subscriber watched or not. And the cable/satellite companies have forced subscribers to buy packages of channels that they have no choice about. It is an unfair system that rewards cronyism and incompetence and should be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission since the FCC has no jurisdiction for cable/satellite TV. Accordingly, all the liberal subscribers are supporting FNC along with CNN and MSNBC.
The best way to do something about this is to contact your cable/satellite carrier and complain about channels that you do not want. You should also complain to your elected officials and the state attorneys general to do something about this unfair practice. Broadcast TV is very sensitive to programming complaints and will respond in kind if they get enough complaints. Cable/satellite channels with some exceptions are given incentives to give the viewer the cheaper and less quality content because of their subscriber based revenue model.
When Donahue was cancelled by MSNBC in 2003, it was the highest rated show on MSNBC. The problem with Donahue was that he was a liberal and anti-war. Hardball barely has an audience but there is no real consequence to NBC and its parent GE. MSNBC will still get its share of subscriber revenue even with the low ratings it has. That is a small price to pay for GE, one of the largest contractors for the DOD to keep in good standing with the Bush Administration. It is time to send a message to these cable/satellite carriers who are giving us substandard content and news that violates our own beliefs such as FNC.