A little while back, I wrote this little rant about Time Warner Cable trying to blame customers like me for an ongoing negotiation with networks over content prices. Apparently networks are trying to raise their prices for content, and TWC is trying to pass the buck on to us — if prices go up, they’ll claim it’s because we didn’t stand up for them, and if they don’t go up, TWC will raise prices anyway.

Watching The Simpsons this evening, I saw a quick ad for this website put together by the network, directly leading the charge the other way. Fox has all sorts of fun claims on this page, including what I said about cable prices going up above, claims that TWC charges for basic broadcast channels without actually paying for the content, TWC made $6 billion in operating profit in 2008, and Fox saying that cable channels are unfairly getting both ad and subscription fees, while broadcast networks are stuck with only advertising.

Apparently the deal has to be all wrapped up by January 1st — Fox even has a list of programming on the website that I might miss if it doesn’t work, including the 24 season premiere. I will be really angry if that’s not available on my cable subscription, and I really will start considering other providers, including DirecTV, Dish Network, or just picking up a digital antenna.

I don’t really have a horse in this race — I definitely don’t think TWC should raise my prices beyond reason, but I don’t know exactly what Fox is asking of them, or what a fair settlement really is between the two companies. That’s for them to figure out. But I do find the whole fight fascinating, and I do wonder why they ever decided to involve us anyway. The deal isn’t dependent on any legislation (and in fact, Fox says that Congress has chosen to stay out of it; the only action they recommend is to send your comments to Fox… so they can use them in the legal writeups, maybe?). TWC obviously thought that they could influence the networks by creating angry consumers, but a) I didn’t get angry at anyone but TWC, and b) obviously the networks aren’t actually influenced by TWC’s propaganda (insomuch as they’re creating their own).

As I said before, my decision stays the same: I want to watch content I like at a reasonable price. If TWC, Fox, or anyone else involved in all of this chaos can’t work that out, then I’ll go off and make a deal with someone who can.



Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 at 3:14 am. Filed under general.
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