Rupert Murdoch once described sports and films as the 'battering rams' of pay television. The expansion of distribution methods for television has placed scarcity in broadcasting away from distribution and onto content production.
This gives copyright owners leverage because success as a broadcaster depends upon securing ongoing access to the the rights of distinctive and attractive programming. So, the bargaining power of television rights owners has increased.
The growth in pay television has lead to bidding wars for attractive content from sustainable producers and inflated the cost of programming rights. Sports is the perfect example, and trends show that sports franchises have moved from mainstream channels to pay channels over the last few years in increasing numbers.
With direct payment, costs for outbidding terrestrial rivals are simply passed on to the viewer. Advertiser-supported broadcasters cannot do this. So the growth of subscription funding is inevitably shifting not only audiences but also economic power away from advertising-funded channels to pay-television operators.
This trend is clearly reiterated by Kagan Research today, Broadcast TV Networks Grab Two-Thirds Of Sports Ad Dollars Despite Cable's Gains