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Television Businesses The Almighty Buck News

ABC Pulls Channels From Cablevision 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the mickey-mouse-is-playing-hardball dept.
wkurzius writes "Cablevision and ABC have failed to come to an agreement after two years of negotiations, and as a result ABC has pulled all their channels from the Cablevision lineup. The dispute is over $40 million in new retransmission fees that Cablevision says they won't give to ABC. On the other side, Cablevision has been accused of not being fair to their customers despite pocketing $8 billion last year. 'The companies immediately published press releases Sunday morning, blaming each other for failing to reach a deal. Cablevision subscribers on Twitter expressed their frustration, saying they shouldn't be deprived of ABC shows, including the Oscars on Sunday, because of a multi-million-dollar deal gone awry. Competitors such as Verizon Communications took advantage of the dispute. The company launched television, newspaper, and online ads offering Cablevision customers speedy installs to subscribe to its FiOS television service along with $75 gift cards, highlighting a fierce war for subscribers in the valuable New York market.'"
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ABC Pulls Channels From Cablevision

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    People actually watch the oscars?
    Who wants to watch an entire industry of false people pat themselves on the back for
    another record breaking year of unoriginality, mediocrity and bullshittery?

    • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:36PM (#31392234)

      now now...

      I hate the rich as much as you do...

      but bullshittery is fun.

      I enjoy film. I enjoy film making... but I do agree it is a silly event, and ABC and Cablevision are just two rich whining babies fighting over an amount of money neither of us will ever see in our life time.

      To think how many people they could help in this economy... all of the out of work people, with health insurance bills...

      Instead two media giants will duke it out over nothing that really matters to real people.

      Keep your ABC channels... and Fuck Cablevision. People are out of work... The oscars doesnt mean dick anyone. Its an advertisement for the best films to buy... thats all it is... But I do enjoy film so... But lets call it what it is... Its a FUCKING INFOMERCIAL.

      FIOS rules ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BatGnat (1568391)
        What does the Oscars have to do with Cinema and film?

        It is a boys club, crappy movies often beat better movies. It's as bad as the Grammys....
        • by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow&gmail,com> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @04:22PM (#31393248) Homepage
          I dunno...it always sounds like there are two groups

          One is like you, saying that the crappy big commercialized movies beat the really good films.

          The other camp says "nobody even saw any of these movies" when they see the list of nominations.

          At some level, these arguments are opposing each other--if all the nominations are going to the smaller, more serious films that were not big blockbusters, then you can't have the equivalent of the grammys where every song that is even close to getting nominated is some trashy top 40 piece. I think this years decision to have 10 best picture nominees is actually an attempt to get it out of the "nobody has seen any of this" camp and into having some more "popular" movies show up (I also think this was the idea behind pushing for an animated feature category).

          My view is that the last couple of years have generated a bunch of best picture nominations that got more public interest *after* their nomination than they had had at release--of course you may still not agree with the film that wins...but if this was like the grammys, the winners would be Mall Cop and Night at the Museum

      • by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:25PM (#31392718) Homepage Journal

        Verizon is Different from ABC and Cablevision how?

    • by awyeah (70462) * on Sunday March 07, 2010 @05:20PM (#31393760)

      It's lots of fun to watch if you have money riding on it.

    • by masonc (125950)

      >People actually watch the oscars?
      People actually watch TV anymore?

  • The same thing happened here in the UK with Sky & Virgin.
    That was right before a big sports event or something too.
    Virgin started their own channel after much complaining.
    All Sky1 shows usually was re-re-re-runs of Stargate anyway.

    Life goes on and they all throw out more reality tv.

    • by Giometrix (932993)

      The same thing happened here in the UK with Sky & Virgin. That was right before a big sports event or something too. Virgin started their own channel after much complaining. All Sky1 shows usually was re-re-re-runs of Stargate anyway.

      Life goes on and they all throw out more reality tv.

      I don't personally watch much of ABC, but ABC is a BIG station in the US... as in one of the original Big 3 [wikipedia.org]. Cablevision definitely doesn't have the resources to make their own version of ABC.

      • Re:Poor ABC (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:10PM (#31392570)

        You say that, and yet Comcast (a different cable service provider) made an offer to buy the entirety of Disney a few years ago, including ESPN and ABC.

        Don't always assume that just because a company is old it is always bigger than newer competitors - or customers.

    • Re:Poor ABC (Score:4, Informative)

      by Manip (656104) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:26PM (#31392138)

      If you're going to tell the story at least get it right.
      Virgin was about to launch competing channels to Sky One-Three and Sky didn't like that too much and tried to up the cost and Virgin didn't back down and just pushed forward their launch. As a result all of the "free" Sky channels got pulled (Sky One-Three, Sky News, et al).

      Sky Sports and Sky Movies never got pulled from Virgin's services since they ran on entirely different agreements (plus Sky and Virgin make far too much on those premium channels).

      There was no "big sports event" since no sports channel got pulled. I think this was just before a 24 season start however.

      • by jeremyp (130771)

        And Sky and Virgin did eventually come to an agreement so Sky 1 is back on Virgin.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by petermgreen (876956)

      All Sky1 shows usually was re-re-re-runs of Stargate anyway.
      I was under the impression that sky1 showed a lot of big american shows before anyone else in the UK (or at least they used to).

      Yeah they fill the rest of the time with repeats but frankly most channels do that.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:16PM (#31391968)
    Sure I'll take that deal - WHEN YOU MAKE FIOS AVAILABLE IN MY @%&#! NEIGHBORHOOD!!!
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:18PM (#31392000)

    Al la carte, please.

    You want to know why your cable bill is so high? This is why. Cable stations (and now network stations) charge cable companies to carry their channels. So they get paid whether you watch their content or not!

    It is these deals that keep things like Hulu from happening because why would a cable station offer their program for only advertising revenue online when they can get fixed monthly revenue plus advertising over cable/satellite.

    And this is why your cable bill is so high. You are paying for channels whether you watch them or not. And due to big bundles, you're paying for a lot of them.

    Meanwhile, the cable (and satellite) companies make these big bundles so they can hide the cost of carrying these channels by making you think you're paying for breadth of content. Mostly, you're actually paying most of it for 5 ESPN channels! And that's great if you want to pay that much for ESPN. But the rest of us need more choice.

    Each channel should be individually tallied so you know how much you're paying for each channel. If you feel the channel is worth the price, you pay for it. If you feel it isn't worth it, you can not pay for it. And if enough channels don't get picked up by people, they will realize they can't just get free money, they have to provide content people want to watch, and once they do that, they won't care if they get their viewers from cable companies or Hulu.

    This would be preferable to seeing larger and larger bundles pushed on us.

    • by TClevenger (252206) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:25PM (#31392102)
      Exactly. And why the fuck am I watched 19 minutes of commercials an hour when my cable company is already paying you $40 million?
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      I pay for the lowest basic analog cable. I watch at most 3 channels, perhaps 5 hours a week. But id rather not go to a pay per view, or id not watch anything :)

    • by garcia (6573) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:34PM (#31392208) Homepage

      Your cable bill is so high because consumers continue to allow cable companies to charge what they do. I dropped "cable" TV (I had DirecTV for a couple of years too) in 2008 and I have been much better off for it. We read more, we listen to more music, and we don't spend hours in front of the TV. I find it to be a win but I understand that entirely too many people do love their TV. Thankfully there are options:

      1. OTA

      This is what we have now. We watch some shows there and the quality is fine, when it works, and when the dog isn't walking in front of the antenna (I still don't understand how digital TV "upgrade" was a good compromise--at least when the signal didn't come in for the old way you could still see something or at least hear something).

      2. Hulu/other streaming availability by network

      We watch the majority of what we want to watch via Hulu. Yeah, I realize it's not the greatest option and not every show is on there but to be completely honest, you shouldn't be watching as much TV as you are anyway. Go outside or something ;)

      3. Movies/Internet

      We used to spend $60 a month on TV. Now we have upgraded cable Internet (I run a website out of my home and needed business class anyway) and we use the Internet a lot more (my masters program is all online) and we spend about $3 a month on Redbox. $57 extra dollars is worth it people.

      ---

      As for the bitching about not being able to catch the Oscars... Go to a friend's house, go to a bar, get an antenna, or just wait till the next day. Believe me, you're probably not missing much.

      • I dropped "cable" TV [...] we have upgraded cable Internet

        I seem to remember that a lot of cable companies won't let customers get cable Internet unless they have at least "limited basic" TV through the cable company. Otherwise, they charge a "line fee" in the same amount as the monthly price for "limited basic" TV.

        • by sorak (246725)

          I can confirm that is the case for comcast, in my area. Well, they charge a $15 fee for not having tv, or an 18.95 fee for limited basic. So, we're paying a fifteen dollar illegal-bundling-because-of-local-monopoly fee, and $3.95 extra for the privilege of having a few channels when we watch tv.

        • by TimHunter (174406)

          Time-Warner in Durham doesn't require me to pay for any form of cable television in order to get RoadRunner.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sorak (246725)

        I am about one month into having only "limited basic" (network programming, several religious channels, and whatever HD channels the local cable company forgot to block out). My wife and I had been telling ourselves we were going to rent movies using our local video store's five older movies for five days for $5 deal. But, instead, we have been playing wii fit for 45 minutes to an hour a day, each, watching an occasional show on network, and have barely missed cable.

        I can't stress enough how much this has h

      • by dbcad7 (771464)

        Even before the switch to digital, I dropped cable and just used a combo of Internet entertainment and free TV.. although I have used DSL instead of cable for my Internet.. Total monthly bill is less than $50 and I have one tier below the fastest DSL they offer. I could chop off about 15 bucks a month if I removed the landline (which has no long distance) believe me, I have considered removing the landline, as 90 percent of the calls are crap sales people, and upgrading to the next tier of DSL which would c

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TimHunter (174406)

        4. Netflix

        I have 90+ movies and TV shows in my queue, not counting the streaming queue. I won't run out of DVDs to watch for years.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      With a la carte TV , only what brings money in will get produced. Risky stuff or stuff with an audience too small to be rentable will not even get touched at all. At least with bundle you have a slight chance that the network takes a bit of risk for the off chance of a good pay. With a la carte this most probably disappear completely.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:05PM (#31392536) Journal

      This whole thing is ridiculous. At face value and and in the deeper business meanings. Stupid, pure and simple stupid. It's 800lbs of stupid.

      This should be avoided, and can be avoided if the last mile is not owned by the content provider. The last mile is community infrastructure that is paid for by subscribers, and should be owned by them. Yes, it seemed easier to outsource this laborious task to someone with a vested interest, but in the end it is not. All those Cablevision subscribers should be able to call customer support and have their content service provision switched while they are on the phone. They should be able to demand a la carte pricing too.

      Instead we continue to allow the last mile community infrastructure to be owned and operated by those who fix the price of using the service. No, what I suggest is not the perfect answer, but it puts the ownership and decision making in the hands of the local community, not hot-headed corporate officers whose interest is bottom line dollars. When the infrastructure is owned by the community, and each 'service provider' is tied to the network, subscribers can choose who they want, not suffer until a new provider is in their neighborhood. As it is, we pay for multiple half assed last mile networks instead of paying for one damn good last mile network. We are charged stupid fees to use those half ass networks, and are at the mercy of 'service providers' marketing groups as to what bundles we have to purchase to watch the few channels we do like.

      This community owned infrastructure would appear to give ABC an upper hand, but it does not. When I'm allowed to choose who I want to pay for service, and choose what channels I don't want to watch, the financing will do an amazing free market thing: kill off content that nobody wants to watch, lower the price of content that people do want to watch, and redirect monies to making content that is worth watching. ABC is going to have this coverage of the Oscars. Why do I have to pay for ABC crap content 24/7/365 to watch it? Why can't I use the pay per view options?

      Television has been made an integral part of American society, and I think it's a sad reflection on that society that it is controlled by so few people, that so little choice is given to the same consumers that have to choose from 400+ options to buy a pair of running shoes. Personally, I think anti-trust laws were created with the intent of stopping this kind of thing. Screw ABC and screw Cablevision, and all their equals. Senator? Congresswoman? if you're listening, I'm holding YOU accountable.

      • by vlm (69642) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:40PM (#31392860)

        ABC is going to have this coverage of the Oscars. Why do I have to pay for ABC crap content 24/7/365 to watch it?

        Why do you have to pay ABC to watch the Oscars?

        TV networks are becoming obsolete, just like RIAA/MPAA.

        The death throes of the dinosaurs are violent and earth-shattering, for awhile, and then we move on with life, with a new business model.

        Senator? Congresswoman? if you're listening, I'm holding YOU accountable.

        You're "holding them accountable", they're sending the reelection campaign buckets of their customer's cash.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PhilipPeake (711883)

        You are making a lot of assumptions about how the content gets delivered.
        Historically, and still true for the majority of content it is not delivered on a "channel" specific to the subscriber.
        Its essentially "broadcast" over the cable network, and subscribers tap into the broadcast.

        There is no way an individual subscriber can change the service provider on this sort of network.

        As systems move to digital delivery it becomes feasible, but requires much more investment than simply the physical cable/fiber netw

    • by vlm (69642) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:29PM (#31392756)

      Here's some corrections to some factual errors/omissions. I am not even remotely speaking in an official capacity and I don't have a dog in this particular fight, but I do have more insight on the topic that the original poster.

      1) Some channels cost, some are free/almost free, some pay. The problem is, you can see the total net cost used to be vaguely low/zero because it sort of balances out, kind of. But that's an unstable situation. A 10% increase on one channel, could result in a total net cost change of like 20%. So the claws really come out in the battle. In an internet era, how well do you think television shopping channels are doing? Hence some inbalance leading to chaos. Essentially pay TV is collapsing such that the only successful channels (sports and news) happen to be channels that historically were expensive.

      2) Everything you see on commercial/mainstream media TV comes from about a half dozen corps. You can play games with percentage cutoffs vs number of providers, but "most TV comes from about 6 major corporations" is more or less correct. So there is no financial reason to have more or less than about a half dozen bundles. Bundle size/design is a purely marketing driven confuse-opoly situation, like the cellphone business or whatever. A bundle sends a certain bucket of cash to the Disney empire, and the cableco really doesn't care what fraction of that bucket disney earmarks for ABC vs disney channel vs whatever.

      3) Its a zero sum game, to some extent. The providers already know that most subscribers only watch about 3 channels and budget their charges accordingly. On average this works pretty well, since almost everything on TV comes from only a couple multinational corps. So, you can pay the big media corps $75 for 300 channels of which you only watch 3, or you can pay $25/each to only get the three channels you watch. Either way the big media corp total revenue will be unchanged. You're better off with 297 channels available that you MIGHT watch in the future, plus people whom watch more than 3 channels would be really screwed with ala carte.

      4) This ties in with #3. If a cableco caves into espn or abc, the problem is not that they've lost ONE battle with one channel. It means they've got to fight perhaps 50 smaller channels to make up the money somewhere else. Hence the claws come out. From the cableco perspective, the job isn't to win a battle with one channel, but not to start a war with numerous little channels. Worst case scenario, since some cablecos are owned partially or in part by content providers, is alliance type activity creating a TV WWI scenario where everyone sues everyone and no one wins or survives but the lawyers. Its a lot easier to fight one big channel to the death, than fifty little channels.

      they have to provide content people want to watch

      5) Ha Ha very funny dude. Actually, they have to sell eyeballs to advertisers. If all they had to do was provide highly desired content, we'd have about 500 channels of pr0n. But in psuedo-christian america, advertisers would get boycotted for advertising on pr0n. Hence, other than ppv, theres not much pr0n on tv. No one boycotts advertisers on violent shows, hence we're supersaturated with violent TV.

      6) Some of it is a pure marketing PR stunt. As a rounded down percentage of the total country population, no one thinks of or watches ABC. But at least today, they got some PR. And theres no such thing as bad PR. Cableco costs go up because of the price of gas, insurance, etc, just like any other business, but this is a very public way of showing an attempt at limiting cost increases, even if its not the real cause of rate increases. Therefore, "Kabuki Theatre" time, and once enough PR interest is generated, we can go back to business as usual. I'd give it a couple days.

      • 1) Some pay?

        I don't watch religious or shopping channels. And it doesn't come close to evening out. And as to channels being free, no channel is free for long. They beg to be put in the basic tier, then they get clearance, then they put two shows on, then they start charging and if the cable company removes them, they scream bloody murder, unless of course they have enough backing from their big conglomerate to to force them in.

        Everything you see on commercial/mainstream media TV comes from about a half dozen corps. You can play games with percentage cutoffs vs number of providers, but "most TV comes from about 6 major corporations" is more or less correct. So there is no financial reason to have more or less than about a half dozen bundles.

        Wrong. Absolutely wrong. The big companies create bundles TO the cable companies that but fo

        • by vlm (69642) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @05:43PM (#31393972)

          People will be unhappy about paying $25/month for one channel and a competitor will come along that only charges $12 for that channel, and people might pick that one up instead. It's called competition. Similarly, if you say only 3 channels cost $25, then all those other channels will be pretty cheap, won't they? So why do you suddenly say I'll only have 3 channels if all the others have to go down to pennies a channel in order for me to pick them up?

          Oh my. I'm not seeing any way in which ala carte would benefit the consumers.

          1st) Here, cable is a regulated monopoly based on contracts with individual municipalities. There is only one cable company in the area. There will be no competition. Its like saying police brutality isn't a problem because a competing police station will set up shop and put the bad one out of business, uh no thats not possible. In a way its good, ala carte would cost a lot to bill, and all that cost can be passed along by the local monopoly onto the customers. On average they'll just end up paying more, for more complicated billing / more support calls to add/remove channels.

          2) The "individual channel cost" is currently a pretty arbitrary marketing number. The channel costs are made up, so as to achieve a total corporate income of $X, our rigged non-free market price of 300 channels is $X. So, you'll simply have the ala carte market manipulated by the very small number of sellers into, the cost of your 3 channels also happens to be $X. After all, you were willing to pay $X for the 3 channels you watch out of the 300 available before, and you're not going to disconnect because something you have no interest in is unavailable. There is no free market, there are only a small number of suppliers and there is only one ESPN. I'm mystified by people whom think the big media corporations would accept less money, apparently out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, just because their local cableco changed their billing system. One way or another, a small cartel of non-commodity suppliers will maintain a constant (or increasing) income.

          3) A free market only works if its free. Err, wait, cable is a regulated monopoly, not a free market. How will the regulatory groups handle free channel market pricing, they can barely handle annual increases? Cableco can't sell ESPN for $20/month for a year at a time if that's the wrong price in that market. Think of other confuse-opolies of endless mysterious little added charges like cellphones. Is there any confuse-opoly out there that benefits the consumer? No. They all result in MORE money being sent to the big corps. So, how does setting up ala carte, aka a big confuse-opoly, benefit the end users?

          4) Also, to be honest, whom really wants to wait on hold for two hours to "subscribe" to the history channel to watch one program and then another two hours on hold to try and "unsubscribe"? I'm seeing it as an unholy annoyance no one will like.

          I will concede that, for the 1% of tv watchers whom only watch EWTN 24x7, they will have somewhat reduced bills. But, overall, looking at a metro area, ala carte could only result in more money being extracted in total from that area.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:35PM (#31392808) Homepage

      Ala carte cable will probably happen - and then be changed in a twisted way never to be seen again.

      The problem is that nobody (and I mean NOBODY) will pay for EWTN. The majority will not pay for BET. A few people, but not enough will pay for the Golf Channel. I don't really see people paying for the Weather Channel either.

      OK, so now Jesse Jackson gets in some Congresscritter's face and demands that the discrimination against BET cease. So now there is a BET tax. The Catholic Church sends a few letters and a priest or two about EWTN being discriminated against and how this lack of diversity is affecting people. So now BET and EWTN are somehow subsidized.

      How many people will actually pay for Spike when they have to make an individual choice? Better put, how many married men will be able to convince their wives that Spike (with Manswers) is a good thing to spend money on? Not enough to keep Spike on the air, that's how many.

      I suspect SyFry will go the same way - some people pay, just not enough. As will be the case with about 75% of the channel lineup. It isn't that anyone will make a decision to eliminate these, just that there isn't enough people paying to make it possible to continue to operate. What made the Golf Channel possible was selling it to the cable and satellite companies, not selling it to individual subscribers.

      The end result is there are maybe 20 cable channels left. Oh, 22 - I forgot BET and EWTN. At that point the whole cable TV idea is pretty pointless and developing a new channel is next to impossible - you don't sell the cable management, you have to sell individual subscribers.

      I am sure I am not the only one with this vision. Just the threat of the discrimination lawsuits would be a serious obstacle. The market shrinkage is nearly provable and would easily make it next to impossible to get this done.

    • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:41PM (#31392876) Homepage

      This is a great idea if you REALLY want to devolve into total crap. Everyone (especially geeks) like to complain about all of the crap on their TV. There are too many crappy reality shows and not enough good content. If TV went al la carte, this would truly be the case. The reason most of the smaller niche channels, the ones that have the good original intelligent programming, can survive are because of bundling. It is, unfortunately, also the reason there are 7 ESPN channels and 12 religious networks, but I will put up with them to have the good content. Channels like G4, the Science channel, the National Geographic channel, the lesser music channels that still show music such as VH1 classic and Palladium, the History channel, and Ovation wouldn't be able to exist without bundling. Instead, all that would be left is lowest common denominator TV like MTV and E. We would lose probably half the channels, but int hat half would be the ones that are willing to take a chance and show interesting niche programing instead of showing reruns of American Idol and the Real World.

      I will happily keep paying for bundles to make sure there is actually something I want to watch available on my cable system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DarkOx (621550)

        Some of the problem is the inefficiency of the whole channel model. Now the technology exists feed content on demand there is really no need for channels.

        As a N'parent poster pointed out there are really on 6 big media firms producing just about everything on all 200 of those cable channels. Rather than bundling shows onto channels and then bundling channels into packages just bundle the shows into the packages.

    • by J4 (449)

      I'm a cablevision subscriber. Your comment exposes the irony of "on demand" programming.
      If I can get a movie streamed, why not a channel?

      Cablevision has entirely too much influence on downstate NY. If you ever want to see
      a real turd, get a copy of Newsday, the paper they own. Utter dreck.

    • Al la carte, please.

      You want to know why your cable bill is so high? This is why. Cable stations (and now network stations) charge cable companies to carry their channels. So they get paid whether you watch their content or not!

      This logic has never made any sense to me, since with an a la carte pricing model, only the bullshit that appeals to the lowest common denominator will ever be commercially viable.
      Do you REALLY want nothing but "Two and a Half Men" and "CSI: Whatfuckingever" all day long?

    • by LazyBoy (128384) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @04:51PM (#31393522)

      Al la carte, please.

      ...

      And this is why your cable bill is so high. You are paying for channels whether you watch them or not.

      Regarding a la carte:
      You feel you're subsidizing everyone else, but everyone else is subsidizing you too. Everyone asking for a al carte thinks they are going to be the ones that pay less.

      Here's how it would play out. A less popular cable station gets only $.20/household. When 19 of 20 households can drop them, they'll need $4/subscriber to make ends meet. Will the remaining N people pay $4? No? Then they'll need to charge even more or chop programming. Death spiral until it's off the air.

      This will happen to the more popular stations as well, but the numbers will be different. You'll have vastly fewer channels when it's done (or vastly more info-mercials).

      OTOH, the cable companies are getting bundles pushed on them by the content providers.

      Maybe the best thing the cable companies could do would be pass through the bundles forced on them. Give us an ABC/ESPN/etc. bundle and see who buys it.

  • OTH? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hackstraw (262471) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:22PM (#31392056)

    I skimmed the article, and the summary seems pretty good. So, isn't ABC still broadcast over the air? I didn't see a list of the other ABC channels, but most everything focused on the main ABC one like Lost, Good Morning America, Oscars, etc.

    Also, this seems to be a trend with ESPN and other companies and cable providers having standoffs. Yes, I'm one of those that got rid of cable and haven't bothered with hooking an antenna to my TV. Even with a DVR, the commercials and lack of good content just makes watching too much effort (and cost) for the reward.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:24PM (#31392080) Homepage Journal

    And no one even noticed.

  • Sign of what comcast / nbc will be to sat tv.

    be ready to get torrents of your shows on.

    2012 games.

    USA Network, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo and more.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:28PM (#31392152)
    When the networks stop relying on all these mindless Reality Shows "staring" all these narcissistic morons, I'll give a shit. I don't have Cablevision, but if Comcast dropped ABC, I wouldn't really care.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:36PM (#31392232)

    I know I'm just dreaming up science fiction here, but if only there were some way that ABC could send their signal directly through space to our TVs and bypass the cable companies completely, we could avoid this horrible situation. Maybe one day it will be possible...

    • Re:Wow, this sucks. (Score:4, Informative)

      by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:21PM (#31392680) Homepage

      We've pretty much obsoleted that model with the new digital broadcast. Now, instead of coverage areas that extend far beyond cities, the coverage pretty much ends in the suburbs.

      The benefit is of course that there are no more snowy pictures - everything is either crystal clear or blank. However, as someone with a home in a rural area we went from five stations that could be picked up and a sixth that was rather iffy we now get one digital station. This is with a 10-foot mast on top of the house with a rotator. Of course a big VHF/UHF antenna is pretty much a waste anyway with the new signal frequencies.

      Cable was the obvious choice and allowed moving from fringe-area DSL (384K) to cable Internet.

      If you live in a city or close-in suburb OTA is still a reality, at least for now.

      • Now, instead of coverage areas that extend far beyond cities, the coverage pretty much ends in the suburbs.

        My cabin is about 90 miles outside of the twin cities in a very remote area, and I can get all the networks OTA.

        I also am using a 20+ year old VHF/UHF antenna on the roof, albeit a large one (maybe 15 feet tall) and it works fine. All I had to do was add an electrical power booster to it.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:39PM (#31392276)
    "Cablevision subscribers on Twitter expressed their frustration, saying they shouldn't be deprived of ABC shows, including the Oscars on Sunday, because of a multi-million-dollar deal gone awry."

    In other news, according to a new entirely authoritative and conclusive scientific study (i.e. me), Cablevision subscribers have the most unrealistic sense of entitlement of any other pay-for-TV consumers in the entire US. They also apparently are all billionaire shareholders of Cablevision.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poopdeville (841677)

      They are paying for service, probably including a big charge for "local broadcast television". Don't you want to get what you pay for?

  • OTA FTW (Score:4, Informative)

    by 2bfree (113445) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:39PM (#31392282)

    I'm so glad I finally got rid of cable. If you leave near a major city where your local stations are located, take a look at getting an indoor HD antenna. (I'm using the Winegard SS-3000, kinda big but works great.)

    • Re:OTA FTW (Score:4, Informative)

      by LurkerXXX (667952) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @05:13PM (#31393706)

      I'd agree, but leave off the part about 'HD'. An HD antenna is no different then an analog antenna that's been in use for many decades. People not knowing any better pay extra money because the box says HD or someone who doesn't know any better tells them they need and 'HD' antenna. They need a TV antenna. Period.

  • by boguslinks (1117203) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:42PM (#31392304)
    Sirius Satellite Radio rolled out an A La Carte program in 2008 (under pressure from the government), and the number of subscribers that have chosen it is tiny.* Really really tiny. Mel Karmazin grits his teeth every time it's mentioned to him, the high cost it took to implement it and the tiny subscriber adoption.

    So it appears many consumers really do like flipping through a zillion channels, for both radio and TV. I'd say it's a small Slashdot-style minority clamoring for A La Carte programming.

    *I will say, Sirius does not exactly go out of its way to promote the A La Carte offering. But it does exist.
    • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @02:56PM (#31392468)

      So it appears many consumers really do like flipping through a zillion channels, for both radio and TV. I'd say it's a small Slashdot-style minority clamoring for A La Carte programming.

      The push for a la carte isn't about flipping through a zillion channels. It's about price. People don't want to pay $80/mo for 1000 channels if they're only ever gonna watch 10. Sirius costs $10/mo.... to perhaps reduce that to $8/mo isn't even worth the hassle of going through and choosing all the Rock and Jazz channels and never being able to listen to Reggae if you're in a tropical mood.

      • by koick (770435) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:15PM (#31392614)
        Your example illustrates to me a difference between radio and TV however.
        I, probably like many folks, enjoy a wide array of music: industrial, rock, jazz, talk, reggae, electronic, 80's, etc.
        However, there is a much smaller array of TV show genres I enjoy: the major networks, PBS, science (like Discovery/TLC), Food, Syfy, and History. I will NEVER want to watch: online shopping, soaps, Spanish/foreign language, sports, kids (Disney, Nickelodeon), MTV, CSPAN, BET, E!, Fox News, Golf, Halmark, etc. Making me pay for these is a waste of my money.
    • by daveywest (937112)

      Speaking as one in the industry, a la carte will never catch on unless networks are prohibited from packaging. For instance, you're local cable provider can't buy Cartoon Network without buying MTV and Comedy Central. My kids and I love Sponge Bob, but we could do without The Situation.

      In the case at hand, I hope all the advertisers are knocking down the door at WABC Monday morning demanding credit for the lost audience.

    • by vlm (69642)

      I'd say it's a small Slashdot-style minority clamoring for A La Carte programming.

      Skyvision is a well known and reputable satellite provider of ala carte channels. Their subscriber numbers are basically a rounding error compared to the big providers. As for my relationship with skyvision, and providing ala carte channels, there is a guy on the NANOG mailing list with a well known humorous quote something like "I strongly encourage my competitors to deploy this bad idea".

      http://www.skyvision.com/programming/alacarte.html [skyvision.com]

      • by metamatic (202216)

        Skyvision is a well known and reputable satellite provider of ala carte channels. Their subscriber numbers are basically a rounding error compared to the big providers.

        Yes, because their channel selection is limited and their smallest dishes are a meter across.

        But Skyvision are a good counterexample to the claim that a la carte is economically impossible.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vlm (69642)

          Yes, because their channel selection is limited

          Its a circular argument. So few people are willing to actually pay for "fill in the blank" channel, that its not offered ala carte, yet people won't buy ala carte because "fill in the blank" channel is not offered.

          Yogi berra had a great quote about ala carte TV, something like "its so crowded that no one goes there anymore"

          their smallest dishes are a meter across.

          Yes that's a stereotypical American problem if I've ever seen one. I see plenty of TVs at best buy that are large enough that you could mount an old fashioned C-band dish behind it and

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290)

    Can't this be considered breach of contract between Cablevision and its customers? I don't know if that's the case with customers that aren't on a 2-year contract or whatever, but for those that are... they're in contract with Cablevision to be receiving ABC's channels, and Cablevision currently isn't holding up their end of the deal. Perhaps if a lawsuit comes along, it could mean the end of huge mandatory bundles so that it would be possible for cable companies to reimburse customers for specific channels

    • by eagl (86459)

      Yea, you're wrong.

      Every cable service agreement I've every signed (I move a lot) has had a line or two regarding how the channel lineup may change. They usually obligate themselves to send you a new list of channels whenever things change (eventually) but they are under no obligation to provide any particular channel or to keep their lineup the same over time.

      They used to pull tricks like whichever "extended" basic cable channel was the most popular for half of a year would get moved to a premium channel l

  • This is the second incident in the past 4 months and I dont really give a crap whether its ABC's "fault" or not. The fact is, my service is provided through Cablevision and if they were thinking about how they service their customers, they wouldnt be pulling stations because they couldnt get a deal done. That's their problem as far as I'm concerned and just may switch to another provider because of this.

    That being said, I'm not necessarily missing ABC right now (although the misses is a bit disappointed abo

  • Cablevision subscribers on Twitter expressed their frustration, saying they shouldn't be deprived of ABC shows, including the Oscars on Sunday, because of a multi-million-dollar deal gone awry.

    Oh my my we have become a nation of cry babies. Cable TV is a service, don't like the service cancel your subscription. Give the money to an alternative provider, you pretty much have at least a satellite provider and or FIOS / UVERSE in almost every market Cablevision serves. Quit your crying and find another carrier, spend your money on something else entirely, or shut up about it and just accept you don't get ABC anymore.

  • That is what ABC stands for. Not just ABC, but all of them. All 'Bout Cash. People who think any differently or think they deserve "free" broadcast media are just fooling themselves. They have shareholders to satisfy and consumers are nothing but income sources. If any particular group of consumers aren't forking over enough money, they're gonna get cut out. Nothing personal, but they really can't possibly care less about a couple of million tv viewers using what they consider to be an under-paying ca

  • Maybe the days of companies deciding to jack up prices for the hell of it are over. ABC bluffed and Cablevision called them on it. Now ABC is losing revenue they would have otherwise gotten. If only more companies (especially hospitals) would simply say "No that price is unreasonable I won't pay." Prices across the board would drop.

    • by daveywest (937112)

      ABC has already garnered additional advertising revenue by claiming the cable subscriptions as additional viewership. Long-term, this backfires on ABC as their audience in a major market drops significantly, and advertisers flock to a network that can provide a larger viewer base.

  • Competition in telecommunications in the USA? Heresy!

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @03:31PM (#31392768) Homepage Journal

    I don't watch Hulu. Instead, I settled on PAYING a la carte via Netflix and iTunes. Personally, Netflix Instant-Cue is my preferred choice, but iTunes has reasonable pricing on the Daily Show and Colbert Report as a bundle and offers House, Better of Ted and a couple other shows that I can't get off of Netflix.

    I refuse to watch Hulu because it is tethered to my computer, and even if I went through the effort of getting it on my TV, it's still a clunky web interface and not at all the simple TV-friendly interface I want when watching on my TV.

    All in all, I pay about $100 a season, get all the shows I want and am quite happy.
    This is down from about $120 a month I was forking over to Comcast.
    And the joy of it all is I don't have to watch a single commercial.

    • Check out Boxee http://www.boxee.tv/ [boxee.tv]. It makes hulu and tons of other online (computer based) tv viewing soooo much easier to use. Have it connected to my HTPC and LOVE it!!
    • You should look into the Hulu Desktop, in their labs section. It is designed to run when connected to a TV, and can work with most computer remotes.. Its very minimalist, and quite nice. I run the Linux 64-bit .deb (they have RPM's too) right off the site, and it works actually much better than using Firefox or Chrome on my Ubuntu 64bit laptop.

  • by okmijnuhb (575581)
    Just watch ABC over the air.
    They have no leverage.
    I am, though, annoyed by Cablevision, who have automatically turned my channel to 1999 every time I turn the box on, using it as a pulpit of forced propaganda.
  • ... cable and other broadband operator continue to lobby against 'Net neutrality.

    Welcome to a world where the carriers cut off content if the size of the kickback isn't sufficient. Yes, I know that the contractual relationships between content providers and CATV companies is different than that on the Internet. Here's hoping that the carriers aren't successful in dragging it that way.

  • So I don't have to hear "OSCAR OSCAR OSCAR!!!"

    It's just the MAFIAA stroking themselves, and trying to make the rest of us believe that we care!

  • I want my VS back in time for the playoffs!

  • candida systems have A La Carte / theme packs why can't we have that hear as well. Also you can BUY THE BOX there to get out of the paying $15+ /m to rent it.

  • by ortholattice (175065) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @06:17PM (#31394352)
    Why is it that reporters seem incapable of distinguishing revenue from profit?

    I'm no fan of Cablevision, but let's get the facts straight. $8 billion is their revenue. The actual amount they "pocketed" i.e. kept (the rest going to expenses) is their net income or profit, which was $285 million. This still is a pretty large amount, but the $40 million ABC wants represents a very large chunk of that income, paid to a single programming supplier. I'm in no position to judge whether or not this is fair, but it is natural that any company would look very carefully at such a large percent of their profit.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      Why does ABC even need this, considering their revenue comes largely from advertising?

  • This doesn't affect me. Even if it did, Lost--the only good show on ABC even though the quality is slipping this season--is all over Usenet minutes after it airs. The days of the robber baron media are long gone and frankly I don't give a shit which giant corporation "wins."

  • Due to the disruption ABC has caused, Cablevision invites you to enjoy our entire slate of on demand movies at no charge today, Sunday March 7th. To order, go to the iO TV main menu, select On Demand, then Movies on Demand, then choose your movie. We appreciate your patience and hope ABC allows our customers to view their programming in the very near future.

    Well, it's a nice gesture, considering how much they've put us in the middle (ABC with nonstop ads and pulling during negotiations, Cablevision pushi

  • WABC-DT transmits from the Empire State Building on VHF channel 7. Almost every Cablevision subscriber should at least have a shot at getting it -- and the other NY majors --- with not much of an antenna if they have a decent (5th generation or newer) tuner. And I don't know about Cablevision, but the quality will be a LOT better than what RCN (which has not been cut off) is putting out.

  • While I use Cablevision for internet connectivity (they're a good internet provider, actually), I don't use them for TV. I use DirecTV. Cablevision where I am in New Jersey won't carry WLIW (PBS) from Long Island, they won't carry BBC America, and they get into these regular pissing matches with the content providers (see the Food Network / HGTV thing a month or two ago).

    If I end up ditching DirecTV, I'd probably use Verizon FIOS because they have BBC America. That'll be cool - Vonage for phone, Verizon for

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