Saturday, August 18, 2012

Some Thoughts On The Cablevision-Tribune Co. Showdown

The frustrating thing about these battles between program providers and cable television system operators is that the consumer always loses.

First we have to endure endless commercial from both sides, telling viewers to call the other and tell them to cave in. These advertisements are becoming more frequent and annoying, almost like the political advertisements we have to endure during the run up to primaries and general elections.

 Today,  I saw an odd twist on that kind of advertisement on American Movie Classic on Cox Communications' Meriden cable system. It was reminding Cox customers that DISH Network removed  AMC from its channel line-up because of a dispute between the two companies.

I also saw this Tweet from Fox 61 that amounts to an advertisement:

Don't let Cablevision shut down FoxCT! Call 800-809-6077 or go to to support your favorite local news station!
                                                                                                                                                                                 Although Cablevision has blacked out Tribune's WPIX on its systems because of the dispute, FoxCT -aka Hartford-based Fox61 - hasn't suffered the same fate yet. But apparently, Tribune officials feel compelled to launch a preemptive strike against Cablevision on that one.

So, here's my question: How is do these "advertisements" serve the consumer? The answer is, of course, that they don't benefit anybody but the two wealthy companies positioned on either side of the argument.

Further compounding the problem is that consumers don't only suffer during such battles, when they miss out on programs they enjoy watching, They also suffer once a settlement is finally reached.

That's when the consumer has the dubious privilege of paying more on their cable bill as an outcome of the negotiations.

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