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Marianne Paskowski



Cable Subs Pay the Price

March 23, 2007 4:32 PM

Mediacom Communications, a small cable multiple system operator, lost its battle with Sinclair Broadcast Group, paying the broadcaster about 50 cents to carry its station signals. Now it’s time for Mediacom’s cable subscribers to share the MSO’s pain, a 4 percent to 8 percent rate hike effective this May.

For now at least broadcasters have the law on their side. Personally, to me, this is just another one of those unintended consequences of the 1992 Cable Act. The act was supposed to protect consumers from unfair price increases, in part, and now just the opposite is happening.

And that’s too bad, especially for Mediacom which lost 7,000 cable subscribers when the Sinclair stations went dark in its markets for almost one month.

Do you think the regulatory deck is stacked unfairly in favor of broadcasters? I do.

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Comments (5)

Cliff:

Cable TV is doomed. In the next few years, less and less will travel to a cable channel for their viewing pleasure. The blow across the deck is Feb 2009 when all is digital. Why struggle with cable box menus and on-demand viewing when the internet is right there to give you what you need anytime.

I was in a Staples the other day and everyday joe american was in there trying to findout how to view their computer's dvd player on their tv screen. Soon they will realize that the new monitors carry multivple connects so you can show everything digital through the monitor and tv channels become a thing of the past.

I see you becoming the master of what you watch by creating your own little portal for everthing you like to see. Brightcove and others are giving you the digital space to create your own entertainment centers. Why waste time for a scheduled show when it is just a click away for viewing. The only thing cable is good for is giving you the informaiton superhighway to your door and if they don't watch out someone else will be all over that too.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cliff,

Well, for God's sake your a psychometrician, a scientist,for the laymen out there and are way ahead of the bell curve here. A lot of people are gonna be schocked when they see what their TV sets can or will not do in several years. Had so much trouble last nite. with watching a DVD, of all things, Casino Royale, which blew, btw, nothing works any more. And I don't know why.

Keep 'em coming, you're doing a great service to our readership.

Warmest,
Marianne

Guy Serumgard:

Stacked in favor of broadcasters--gosh, I think not. . . .if that were so, there never would have been a mandate to convert the nation's broadcasting system to digital--broadcasters have had to spend billions of dollars to comply with government mandates--and then have to fight for carriage from cable systems who basically resold their signals for years with no compensation. . . .at least the 1992 cable act provided some mechanism for relief. . .and make no mistake, if a cable system doesn't provide the television nets, they will lose subs.

Of course cable systems are going to jack up prices if their prices rise--mine just jumped about 5% without any semblence of an explanation--just"give us more money"--but a rise in the cost of one channel is always an excuse for cable operators to raise rates way more than the added expense incurred. . . .I am a firm supporter of ala carte pricing--a base rate for the connection and so much per channel for the ones a viewer wants--I have no interst in the vast majority of channels my cable system offers--but I have to pay for them--if you really support customer protection--support ala carte. . .

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Guy,

Ala carte is a slippery slope for broadcasters, too. Years ago, I would never have even thought of droppiing, say NBC, but today it's a little different. Like you, and most people, I tend to sample a lot of different networks but remain unglued to any of them.

You can peel the onion further, and go beyond ala per channel and go pay per view per show and really destroy the whole economic model.

My two cents back,
Marianne

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