When Cable Fights the Networks, You Lose Either Way
So Time Warner and Fox have come to an agreement, at least for the time being, to continue bringing the various Fox channels to subscribers. Oh, good. In case you’re wondering who the winner is in that little staged drama, it’s both of them. There’s only one loser, and that’s you. You’re going to wind up paying more than you were before yet again. Except now, when they jack up your rates, they have provided themselves with the convenient fig leaf of saying, “But look how much more the rates would have gone up if we didn’t fight for you!”
Time Warner made a big show of running non-stop advertisements for their web site, Roll Over or Get Tough, where they purported to demonstrate their concern for you and how they would protect you from the evil moneygrubbers at Fox. What a joke. If Time Warner actually had any interest in being responsive to the market and offering real choices to consumers they would move to a true a’ la carte menu. The technology is already in place to offer such a service, as demonstrated by the many pay per view and “on demand” options currently offered by the cable giant. Rather than offering only two tiers of channels in massive packages, Time Warner (and the rest of their ilk) should be able to offer hard strapped consumers a very basic package of twenty channels or less for under $25 a month. Then we could pick from the hundreds of other channels in groups of ten, five or even one and add to our bill for the channels we actually watch and not pay for the rest. Of course, neither the networks or the cable companies want to see anything like that since so many people would fail to subscribe to a ton of these useless channels.
Oh, boo hoo. Cry me a river. That’s the nature of business. If not enough people want to watch, you go out of business. That’s how it works. But is anyone pushing that sort of solution? No. Instead we have Senator John Kerry threatening to bring the government in to “solve” the problem for us. Gee, thanks.
Hi. We’re from the government and we’re here to help.
Exactly what we don’t need. We need competition to the cable giants who offer packages such as I described above. That would bring down prices and wake up Time Warner in a hurry. And providers like Fox would realize in a hurry that they need to continue delivering quality content which people actually want to see or they’ll get hit where it hurts the worst… right in the wallet.