Cable Tech

TWC Warns TV Programmers

The fight between cable providers and TV programmers over the cost of content gets amped up to 11 in Wednesday's cable round-up.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is warning television programmers not to impose "huge price increases" for television content, as fierce disputes over programming costs have forced fresh blackouts of channels on Time Warner Cable and others. "Consumers are tired of these disputes and so are we -- television networks can't continue to demand huge price increases and expect us to silently pass those cost increases on to our customers," the cable provider stated in The Wall Street Journal.

  • TWC, meanwhile, has been accused by Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. (Nasdaq: NXST) of stealing NBC signals in Indiana and Pennsylvania and a CBS signal from Rochester, N.Y. that it owns and illegally retransmitting them to markets including Cincinnati; Louisville, Ky; and Orlando, Fla. Nexstar is suing TWC in the U.S. District Court in the northern district of Texas, alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract, Adweek reports.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s shares had their biggest one-day gain since early March on Tuesday thanks to a positive report from a Wells Fargo & Co. analyst. Marci Ryvicker wrote that concerns that Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen will spend billions of dollars building a 4G wireless network in satellite spectrum are unfounded. The note sent Dish's stock up 4.6 percent to $28.90 at in the close yesterday, according to Bloomberg.

  • Police confirmed Tuesday that a Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) worker has been killed in an armed robbery gone awry, the Maryland Gazette reports. Thirty-year Comcast installer Bradford McCoy was run over by another victim of the attempted robbery trying to escape the scene, police say.

  • The City of Redondo Beach may charge Time Warner Cable with vandalism after a bizarre marketing campaign by the cable provider. The Redondo Beach Patch reports that TWC wrote on the city's esplanade with blue chalk to advertise its free Wi-Fi service.

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

  • joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:27:40 PM
    re: TWC Warns TV Programmers

    Yep, seems like they're all shooting themselves in the foot if they make it normal to premier big shows like Breaking Bad via online stream.

    jedlund 12/5/2012 | 5:27:40 PM
    re: TWC Warns TV Programmers

    Content Creators, Content Owners, Content Agregators and Content Distributors need to understand the new paradigm and embrace it, or be relegated to the scrap heap with the Dinosaur. Consumers are rapidly embracing new methods of consumption and will very easily "go around" attempts to draw more $$ from their wallets for non-differentiated services.  IP distribution is rapidly ruling the day and schedule based / distributor based programming will die even more swiftly if the ecosystem does not rapidly respond to the fact that the Customer is King.

    DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:27:36 PM
    re: TWC Warns TV Programmers

    I think content is king, actually. I'm sitting in a hotel room in NYC and not seeing about half the channels because of the DirecTV dispute. 

    Weirdly, my first thought isn't about the channels or the content creators. I'm first upset with the hotel and the TV service. Why aren't they delivering me the service I was promised?


    cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:27:34 PM
    re: TWC Warns TV Programmers

    So when a bunch of hotels get a lot of complaints from consumers, and they go back screaming to DirecTV -- from whom they are buying service - will DirecTV decide it's more important to keep its customers happy, even if it hits the bottom line?

    I think this is a case of who blinks, the content owners or the distributors being asked to pay more.

    The same battle is raging between pay TV providers and the broadcasters, who are asking for retransmission fees. Some small providers are getting totally squeezed by content costs - more than one smaller telco has abandoned IPTV because content costs were so high they can't make a profit.

    Right now, the content owners think they are sitting pretty. Is Breaking Bad so important to its audience that they'll switch providers to see it? Or will they just watch something else?

    Probably the only programming I would switch providers for is live sports.

    shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:27:29 PM
    re: TWC Warns TV Programmers

    "Content" in the abstract may be king, but 99% of all content is replaceable and interchangeable to some extent. Spongebob addicts are already moving on to other distractions. Content owners that overestimate their value usually find that their self-awarded crowns are made of base metal and paste.

    krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:27:28 PM
    re: TWC Warns TV Programmers

    The solution is simple and not one the content owners want; a la carte programming across the board.  The content owners force a bundle of channels on the cable/satellite providers and usually require those channels to be available to all consumers in the low-end tier.

    Take ESPN for example, this channel is available to virtually every single subscriber.  Even if you do not watch it, you are $4.69 to have it and you have no choice but to receive it.  Take TNT, they get $1.16 per subscriber.  If a la carte was offered, the consumer could pick and choose what channels they wanted.  Don’t want ESPN, you can save nearly $5 per month.  Most likely, ESPN would raise their rates if enough people didn’t subscribe and then the sports fans would see it over $5 a month; the same would hold true for other channels.  A la carte would allow the cable/satellite companies to charge a customer fee and then just pass the programming costs directly onto the consumer.  So if the content owners wanted to raise the rates, they are free to do so at any time they want.  What they risk is that the consumer views their programming isn’t worth the price and drops it.  There are many channels that show large amount of paid for programming; the 30 to 60 minutes infomercials.  How many subscribers are going to pay for those?  Not many, so either a station is going to have to get better programming or offer their channel for free just to have viewership.  The content owners are the ones against the a la carte method as then they have a harder time making money.

    Sign In