The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter has the definitive tick-tock on how Current TV managed to become so big ($100 million in annual revenue) and how the sale to Al Jazeera was finalized. The big takeaway: Current co-founder and former Vice President Al Gore used his muscle to get deals done. One of the most important deals, and the one that arguably helped Current the most, came from News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch:
In a meeting in New York, Mr. Gore leaned on Mr. Murdoch for an extended contract with a lucrative per-subscriber fee.
Mr. Gore asserted that DirecTV should carry a “diverse set of news sources.”
The resulting contract guaranteed Current roughly 10 cents per subscriber per month and helped Mr. Gore secure the financing he needed to acquire Newsworld. It also laid the groundwork for similar extensions with smaller distributors.
That’s why Current, despite having one of the puniest audiences of any widely distributed cable channel, was able to post annual revenue of about $100 million.