Increasing demands by the broadcast networks for "retransmission consent" compensation are making things ever more difficult for independent channels to land cable outlets, according to Mark Cuban, who owns HDNet -- the home of Dan Rather Reports -- and HDNet Movies. Cuban, in an interview with TheWrap.com, noted that the major media conglomerates have traditionally been able to force cable and satellite companies "to take networks that no one watches" as part of package deals that include networks that everyone does want to watch. "Combine that with all the money that distributors are now having to pay for retrans[mission] fees, and there is a real problem for independent networks like HDNet," he said. Cuban disclosed that he has been focusing his attention on his two cable channels while allowing subordinates to run his Dallas Mavericks basketball team, his Magnolia Pictures film studio, and his Landmark Theaters arthouse chain so that he can carry "a torch for independent networks. We are quickly becoming an endangered Species, which would be a huge shame."

01/12/2011