Thursday, October 21, 2010

Calling Your Cable Provider

Calling Your Cable Provider

At the moment there is at least 3 million New Yorkers are without Fox programming because of a dispute with cable company Cablevision and Fox. While normally that would probably be a good thing to not have Fox news, the problem is that Fox News is still on the air there while the network's other stations are not.

This means that baseball playoffs and football games are being missed by those in the area. Which is comedy since the Yankees are currently playing (if you could call it that) and most New Yorkers can't watch the game.

Oh yeah, I guess they're potentially going to miss Glee next week when they do their take on the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And after day 5, things are still at a stalemate with the two as no one wants to do anything but talk.
But in the public space and in Washington, the spat created a storm, with more and more politicians weighing in. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) today sent FCC chairman Julius Genachowski a copy of legislation he is drafting, which would mandate that retrans disputes be taken to a third party arbitrator and would put enough safe guards to prevent network blackouts in such disputes. In turn, Genachowski today issued his most sternly-worded statement on the issue yet, in which he said he called the CEOs of the two companies and urged them to negotiate in good faith and reach a deal, though he stopped short of getting the FCC to intervene as some have asked. "I am deeply troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending more time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists than sitting down at the negotiating table," Genachowski said. "The time for petty gamesmanship is over."
It was classic that Fox and Cablevision respected Julius Genachowski's position enough to wait a good ten minutes before making statements accusing each other of hypocrisy and flip-flopping on the matter.

So who's at fault here? Fox claims that Cablevision hasn't paid them enough dough. Cablevision claims that Fox is asking for too much money. The Dolan family (who own Cablevision) are well known to be assholes. News Corp, besides providing my pay check, are assholes themselves and have pulled the same move with Dish Network. So in a sense, both companies are to blame and there's not much you can do about it.

It's getting heated though. Anyone who reads Deadline Hollywood's take on the matter will learn that Cablevision broadband subscribers Internet access to Fox programming on Hulu and is also being blocked by Cablevision. So they're limiting what your options are and giving Fox the finger here.

Best of all is that in 2 weeks, this same scenario is what is going to happen with Dish subscribers, some of whom have already had a good chunk of programing cut from their package.

But much like in an episode of Battlestar Galactica, all this has happened before, all this will happen again. It did last year between Bright House and Fox. In the end, I believe it was Bright House who caved on the matter, so Fox is just going for the throat on this one and working its way around each of the providers when their renegotiation times comes around.

Eventually I see Fox winning and it's not because that's my bread and butter, but the simple fact is that people have options and they'll more than likely leave a cable company that doesn't provide them with all that they need or want. The provider just pays the amount and raises the subscriber rates to pay for the cost. It's your classic shake down.

So hang in there, New Yorkers. You'll be able to see your precious expensive Yankees lose to the Texas Rangers soon enough.

No comments: