Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Will they never learn?

A year ago, there was a dispute between Time Warner Cable and the Viacom family of cable networks (Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, etc.) that threatened to pull those networks off TWC systems across the country. The dispute was settled on New Year's Eve just before midnight.

Now, TWC is embroiled in another dispute, this time with Fox, which wants $1 per subscriber for its broadcast channels to continue to be on TWC systems. I've also read that Fox has the same issue with other cable providers. I realize the economy is not that stable, but to charge a fee for common broadcast channels on cable? This smacks of outright greed. As was the case last year, TWC is running ads in newspapers stating their case, and Fox, dutifully, is doing the same. In large markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, for example, Fox affiliates that are also owned by News Corporation are also affected. That is not the case in Albany, since Fox affiliate WXXA is owned by a different entity (Clear Channel). WNYA, home to the fading MyNetwork TV (MNTV), is also owned by an outside concern. Thus, there isn't as much of a panic over losing Fox staples like American Idol, House, & The Simpsons or MNTV's flagship series, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, as there would be in LA, NYC, or elsewhere. Fox's cable networks, such as FX, Fuel, & the Fox Sports Net regional channels, are in danger of being yanked on January 1, however.

It's just history repeating itself. We'll wake up Friday morning as if nothing happened. Everything will stay the same after another 11th hour deal is reached. And, then, next year, we'll be reading about the same thing all over again, this time with TWC having to deal with NBC-Universal or Disney instead of Fox. The process will continue until TWC runs out of opponents. We as consumers stand to lose, and lose big, potentially, if there isn't a settlement by January 1, but what if TWC were to finally cave to the NFL Network? If there is an impasse with Fox, TWC would suddenly have room to add the one channel that has fans packing sports bars a few Thursdays a year because of the stubborn mule mentality TWC suits have hung on to the last few years. If anyone is rooting for an impasse, it'd be the NFL.

As TWC pitchman Mike O'Malley (ex-Yes, Dear) might put it, what is with the complexity? How hard can this be, year after year? Check your greed and your egos at the door, boys. This is one time where the consumer comes first!


Anonymous said...

Corporate greed will be the downfall of this country.

hobbyfan said...

Among other things.