NFL Network vs. Cable holdouts - The 8 game dilemma. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't have any comments that haven't been made over and over, but thought this topic deserved it's own thread. Have at it !!!!
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post #2 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Time Warner, NFL Network Butt Heads

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Mike Reynolds 7/28/2006 5:15:00 PM

Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network are strapping on their respective helmets in anticipation of a nasty carriage dispute.

The operator may punt the network away from systems owned by Adelphia Communications that it is acquiring, including those in such National Football League markets as Buffalo, N.Y.; Cleveland; and Dallas.

In response, the network -- which added an eight-game, late-season primetime package -- is preparing a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to run throughout the pro football season if necessary against Time Warner, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks and other cable operators that are not carrying the 41 million-subscriber channel.

Time Warner is considering dropping NFL Network from systems in Buffalo, Cleveland, Los Angeles, the Carolinas and Maine that are currently carrying the service as early as Aug. 1, following the expected July 31 closing of Time Warner Inc.'s and Comcast's purchase of Adelphia, according to sources at both parties.

Time Warner, which doesn't have a corporate deal with the network, placed ads in newspapers within those Adelphia markets Wednesday, alerting subscribers that NFL Network could be one of several networks either added or dropped with the ownership change.

Time Warner officials said no decisions have been made regarding NFL Network and the MSO remains in active discussions with the network to secure a carriage deal.

Meanwhile, NFL Network will run TV, radio and print ads -- as early as this coming week -- identifying operators that are currently not carrying the service. The network was expected to run ads this past Sunday in newspapers reaching NFL markets, including Green Bay, Wis. (Time Warner), and Tampa, Fla. (Bright House).

NFL Network spokesman Seth Palansky said the service is prepared to execute a multimedia marketing blitz for several months, if necessary, adding, We're prepared to go as long as it takes, but we hope it's only a one-week period.

The ads will not target MSOs that carry the network but have yet to sign up for its new rate card, which includes the $300 million eight-game package, plus replays of select Sunday contests.

Thus far, satellite services EchoStar Communications and DirecTV -- as well as a number of small and midsized operators -- have come off the bench to sign the new deals. Distributors said the network's new licensing fees range between 50-75 cents per month, per subscriber -- a substantial increase over its previous rate card calling for between 20-25 cents.

Multichannel News 7/28/06
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post #3 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 09:23 AM
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July 25, 2006
Section: Sports
Page: C1
Column:Valley watch



Valley Watch: Working for a better Coachella Valley
Bill Byron
Staff
The Desert Sun

Why you won't by watching NFL Network on Time Warner Cable

There's a new sporting event to add to the list of sports we can't watch on our local cable stations: the NFL.

Beginning this Thanksgiving, the NFL Network will show live NFL games every week until the end of the season, but any valley resident who has Time Warner Cable won't be able to see them.

The problem - as usual - is cash. Time Warner is negotiating with the NFL on a national level to try to get the NFL Network. But they're trying not to pay too much for it to avoid raising rates for viewers who never watch the sport.

"We want to include the NFL Network in one of our sports (packages); and they want to be included in our most basic service," Ernie Villicana, Time Warner Vice President of Marketing for the Desert Cities Division said last week. "Our hope is that our two organizations will come to terms by the time that these regular season games air this season - but it might be a little too early to tell."

At least with this sporting blight, there is an alternative. Fans can buy DirecTV, the satellite system that has an NFL package, allowing you to watch all NFL games. But that special NFL package is pretty expensive ($280) and you lose the ability to watch local network stations.

I asked Villicana if he was worried about losing customers to DirecTV if Time Warner doesn't get its act together:

"There's some concern, but the vast majority of the hard-core NFL customers probably left us years ago. ... Will there be losses? Probably. Will they be large? Probably not."

I guess us football fans just aren't that important anymore.

The news from the NFL Network isn't any better.

"We don't like the idea of a cable company charging whatever they want to get fans to pay a bunch extra to get our channel," NFL Network spokesman Seth Palansky said Monday. "They happily sell you 10 porno channels and have no restrictions there, but we think a channel dedicated to the most popular sport in the country is worth viewing by all consumers ... their profits are in pornography, not pigskin."

I asked Palansky flat out: If he was a betting man, would he bet on a deal getting hammered out by Turkey Day.

He said "No."

"We've been trying to negotiate with them for the past 21/2 years. We have a deal with Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network and 200 other cable companies," he said. "Everyone else has put us on their expanded basic package."

It doesn't sound promising, but maybe a grass-roots campaign by you readers can convince these two corporations to get onto the same page.

The best Time Warner Cable number to call is 674-5377. The NFL Network suggested calling the NFL's main office in Manhattan at: (212) 450-2000 but the NFL Network number is (310) 840-4635, if you want to bug them too.

While I had him on the phone, I asked Villicana about the lack of Angels games in the Coachella Valley (and judging by the e-mails and phone calls, a few readers noticed we were blacked out twice last week.) Again, he downplayed the importance of the sports fan.

"We would have to pass the cost through to almost 150,000 customers and only about 10 to 15 percent watch Angels' games," he said. "It wouldn't be fair to the other 70 percent of our customers."

That math's a little fuzzy, but I think we get the idea - it ain't happening.

I guess we'll just have to jump into a time machine and listen to those 20 or so remaining blacked out games on the radio.

Bill Byron is a Desert Sun reporter who covers Cathedral City and valley consumer issues.
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post #4 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 09:39 AM
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Title revised to include other cablecos involved.
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post #5 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 09:52 AM
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are you talking about NFL network or NFL HD network? if you get one, does that mean you get the other too? on our cable system, we get NFL network but no NFL HD... well i cant tell because i dont have the digital cable package but from my experience everything HD has a D in the channel name.
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post #6 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 09:54 AM
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Does anyone really think the NFL won't win this one?

In addition to its exclusive end of season (HD) package of games, the NFL Network has been quietly picking up rights to some bowl games -- though admittedly minor for now.

But as it is, the ad campaigns of DirecTV, Dish, FiOS and the other telcos will be brutal when games appear on the NFL Network and some cable subs can't see them.

There also is the new FCC requirement that Comcast and Time Warner submit to binding arbitration is the case of RSN coverage in the future. I would anticipate the NFL will ask the FCC to enlarge that requirement to include its programming.

And politically, when the NFL is already deriding the cable companies for charging for porn while not adding the NFL Network, how can the FCC fail to respond positively?


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post #7 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Does anyone really think the NFL won't win this one?

In addition to its exclusive end of season (HD) package of games, the NFL Network has been quietly picking up rights to some bowl games -- though admittedly minor for now.

But as it is, the ad campaigns of DirecTV, Dish, FiOS and the other telcos will be brutal when games appear on the NFL Network and some cable subs can't see them.

There also is the new FCC requirement that Comcast and Time Warner submit to binding arbitration is the case of RSN coverage in the future. I would anticipate the NFL will ask the FCC to enlarge that requirement to include its programming.

And politically, when the NFL is already deriding the cable companies for charging for porn while not adding the NFL Network, how can the FCC fail to respond positively?

The NFL knows that if they are on a sports tier, their reach will be less than 25% during the season, and much less off season. They know that the tier can't be priced at retail for over say $5.95/month and still expect to reach 25%.

Given that, assuming that NFL was bundled with a few other sports nets on that tier, their share of the revenue might be in the buck and a quarter a month range, much less than getting 75 cents from every household 12 months a year.

I know everybody loves football, but I still contended that NFL is being the jerk here. As for the analogy with porno, that IS available strictly as an optional service. Their argument makes no sense at all.

Stick to your guns TWC.
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post #8 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by posg View Post

...

Stick to your guns TWC.

Given your argument, and realizing that fully 70%+ of the nation's viewers never watch ESPN, why shouldn't TWC put the ESPN channels on a tier, too?

That would benefit the overwhelming majority of viewers who don't want to pay the $2.96 a month for ESPN and the $2.00 a month for ESPN2 and a fe more nickels a month for ESPN News and ESPN Classic (not even mentioning the TWC markup of those charges.) Tha could save about two-thirds of TWC subscribers well over $6 a month.

And TWC "sticking by its guns" never seems to include knocking Time Warner cable channels off its systems, does it?

And "sticking ot its guns" so far has enabled TWC to get an average monthly revenue per subscriber (at the end of the 1st Q of 2006) of $91.33. (Comcast is $86.78 and Adelphia -- which apparently will have the NFL Network dropped from its systems when TW takes over -- is $77.79)

(Source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/...ay=Top+Stories )

Not counting the HBO and Cinemax pay services, here are the TW basic cable channels:

TNT
CNN
CNN Headline News
CNN International
Boomerang
Cartoon Network
Turner Classic Movies

Do you honestly believe that there is more interest in each of these channels than in the NFL Network?


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post #9 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyanney View Post

At least with this sporting blight, there is an alternative. Fans can buy DirecTV, the satellite system that has an NFL package, allowing you to watch all NFL games. But that special NFL package is pretty expensive ($280) and you lose the ability to watch local network stations.

And of course this is completly wrong. You don't need the NFL package to get the NFL Network, just Total Choice.

And if for some reason the locals in that area aren't on DirecTV there is always an antenna or TWC's "broadcast basic" which they must offer for around $10 a month whether they admit it or not.

Scott
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post #10 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Given your argument, and realizing that fully 70%+ of the nation's viewers never watch ESPN, why shouldn't TWC put the ESPN channels on a tier, too?

That would benefit the overwhelming majority of viewers who don't want to pay the $2.60 a month for ESPN and the $2.00 a month for ESPN2 and the $0.70 a month for ESPN News and another $0.50 for ESPN Classic (not even mentioning the TWC markup of those charges.) Tha could save about two-thirds of TWC subscribers well over $6 a month.

And TWC "sticking by its guns" never seems to include knocking Time Warner cable channels off its systems, does it?

And "sticking ot its guns" so far has enabled TWC to get an average monthly revenue per subscriber (at the end of the 1st Q of 2006) of $91.33. (Comcast is $86.78 and Adelphia -- which apparently will have the NFL Network dropped from its systems when TW takes over -- is $77.79)

(Source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/...ay=Top+Stories )

Not counting the HBO and Cinemax pay services, here are the TW basic cable channels:

TNT
CNN
CNN Headline News
CNN International
Boomerang
Cartoon Network
Turner Classic Movies

Do you honestly believe that there is more interest in each of these channels than in the NFL Network?

I would LOVE to have ESPN moved to a tier. Time Warner would love to move ESPN to a tier. Mickey Mouse however would not.

These TW channels are priced at a rate consistant with being in a basic tier. Once a channel breaches 50 cent per subscriber per month, I feel cable operators should be allowed to tier those services. Under those conditions, I feel the supplier is entitled to a "penalty" rate.

It would help keep the rates down both from the supplier and to the consumer, while allowing those who really want the higher priced services to opt for them in a tier.

What if HBO changed strategies and demanded to be put on basic cable at the end of it's current contracts. They could. What should a cable operator do if they did? Drop them? Increase everyone's rates? Eat the cost? Not everybody wants HBO. Some people really really do. And the cable operator is entitled to be treated fairly.

The problem again is that NFL and ESPN simply DO NOT ALLOW tiering of their services, which really isn't fair to anyone.
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post #11 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Both parties have done their math.

NFL Networks can't make as much money being on a tier no matter how they structure it.

TWC will lose less revenue from defectors than they would loose from eating the cost of NFL Networks.

Sounds like a stand-off.
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post #12 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 07:28 PM
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This sounds like a perfect argument for a la carte. Seems a little funny that TWC argues that they want to save people money by not having a channel people don't want but don't allow the consumer to do it themselves.

Please remember that this isn't about protecting people it's about money. Who gets more is the only argument.
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post #13 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDChargerdan View Post

This sounds like a perfect argument for a la carte. Seems a little funny that TWC argues that they want to save people money by not having a channel people don't want but don't allow the consumer to do it themselves.

Please remember that this isn't about protecting people it's about money. Who gets more is the only argument.

Time Warner is making a mistake in the Dallas area. New arrival Verizon FiOS is going the opposite direction - moving NFLN to it's most popular package on August 1st. (previously it has been part of the sports package you can buy for an extra 6 bucks a month)

Verizon has already been taking a lot of customers away from Comcast. This move with NFLN might have the tendency to make that problem worse for Time Warner.
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post #14 of 1586 Old 07-29-2006, 11:24 PM
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I wish every cable company would boycott NFL Network. I absolutely never watch pro football. Why the hell should I have to pay every month so a few die-hards can watch a couple of out-of-market games? In addition, if they give in on this one, don't think for a second that in a few years, the NFL won't start local RSNs like baseball teams to where you'll have to pay just to see your local team!

Sports tier or nothing - that's what I say.
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post #15 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboDan View Post

I wish every cable company would boycott NFL Network. I absolutely never watch pro football. Why the hell should I have to pay every month so a few die-hards can watch a couple of out-of-market games? In addition, if they give in on this one, don't think for a second that in a few years, the NFL won't start local RSNs like baseball teams to where you'll have to pay just to see your local team!

Sports tier or nothing - that's what I say.

It's that same old tired arguement. I don't ever watch Lifetime, Lifetime movies, Bravo and about 50 other channels. They should be moved out to it's own tier for the few die-hards that watch those channels!!

Scott
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post #16 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Time Warner is making a mistake in the Dallas area. New arrival Verizon FiOS is going the opposite direction - moving NFLN to it's most popular package on August 1st. (previously it has been part of the sports package you can buy for an extra 6 bucks a month)

Verizon has already been taking a lot of customers away from Comcast. This move with NFLN might have the tendency to make that problem worse for Time Warner.

No doubt Verizon was forced to move NFL Network to basic. The reason why NFLN can't back down from TWC and others is that they would probably get sued by all the cable operators who have already negociated a contract with language indicating the channel is a manditory basic service.

Messy...
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post #17 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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It's that same old tired arguement. I don't ever watch Lifetime, Lifetime movies, Bravo and about 50 other channels. They should be moved out to it's own tier for the few die-hards that watch those channels!!

If a service decides that they want to be placed on an entry level tier, they have to be sensitive on how the price the product to the cable operator. If Lifetime wanted what NFLN wants, they'd quickly lose carriage and go out of business. They got dumped by Dish Network for awhile for that very reason.

NFLN wants a premium rate to be in a basic package. They've just tripled they're rates. They cut sweetheart deals with the satellite guys first in order to hold the cable guys ransom. The whole thing stinks whether you like football or not.

NFLN knows that once they're on, they can raise they're rates at every contract renewal without impunity.
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post #18 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Consider this:

What if NFL Networks early on signed 10 year contracts with the satellite guys at 10 cents per sub per month with no rate increases during the course of the contract.

What if NFL Networks went to the cable industry and made the same offer, if they launched NFL Networks across they're entire footprint at launch, and many systems were already more or less technically and contractually "full".

What if those cable operators said "pass for now", but now are being asked to pay more than five times what they're competators pay. Is that a fair playing field?

There are things we don't know about the why's and the wherefore's, but rest assured TWC et al are just trying to escape the negotiating table with their belts buckled and their pride intact.
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post #19 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa View Post

Given your argument, and realizing that fully 70%+ of the nation's viewers never watch ESPN, why shouldn't TWC put the ESPN channels on a tier, too?

That would benefit the overwhelming majority of viewers who don't want to pay the $2.60 a month for ESPN and the $2.00 a month for ESPN2 and the $0.70 a month for ESPN News and another $0.50 for ESPN Classic (not even mentioning the TWC markup of those charges.) Tha could save about two-thirds of TWC subscribers well over $6 a month.

And TWC "sticking by its guns" never seems to include knocking Time Warner cable channels off its systems, does it?

And "sticking ot its guns" so far has enabled TWC to get an average monthly revenue per subscriber (at the end of the 1st Q of 2006) of $91.33. (Comcast is $86.78 and Adelphia -- which apparently will have the NFL Network dropped from its systems when TW takes over -- is $77.79)

(Source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/...ay=Top+Stories )

Not counting the HBO and Cinemax pay services, here are the TW basic cable channels:

TNT
CNN
CNN Headline News
CNN International
Boomerang
Cartoon Network
Turner Classic Movies

Do you honestly believe that there is more interest in each of these channels than in the NFL Network?

Couldn't have said it better myself.

I envision 1 of 2 possible scenarios:

1. TWC eventually signs and delivers the NFL Network. Whether the NFL's marketing tactics influences that will be a matter of opinion.

2. Dressler (fred.dressler@twcable.com ... e-mail him relentlessly, please) and the other suits at TWC dig in their heals and continue with their current stance that the NFL is charging too much and resisting the NFL's insistance on a basic digital channel position (vs. being relagated to a sports tier). In fact, the upcoming marketing blitz may even embolden him to refuse a carriage agreement ... all the while, not caring about the effect on subscriber count.

I know, I know ... last year TWC saw a marked increase in total subscriber count. And, this year, they will as well as they absorb much of Adelphia. However, those increases are not by choice, as we know. They are customers who default to the local franchised cable system. Now that TWC is being exposed on a national forum, lets see how many subscribers get their head out of the sand, and act accordingly.

BTW ... Buffalo Adelphia customers (soon-to-be NFL Network-less) are extremely pissed that TWC will immediately pull the NFL Network, ESPN2HD, ESPNU, etc. when they make the switch (within 30 days). The local papers have written articles ... Buffalo is a football-crazy, very hearty place. I don't think they'll sit back and take it like most of TWC subs after beating our heads against the walls.

Should be interesting.
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post #20 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboDan View Post

I wish every cable company would boycott NFL Network. I absolutely never watch pro football. Why the hell should I have to pay every month so a few die-hards can watch a couple of out-of-market games? In addition, if they give in on this one, don't think for a second that in a few years, the NFL won't start local RSNs like baseball teams to where you'll have to pay just to see your local team!

Sports tier or nothing - that's what I say.

Why the hell should I have to pay for:

12 shopping networks
Multiple religious channels
An ever-expanding line-up of Spanish-only channels
Yada, yada, yada

Just because you hate football, doesn't mean that the rest of us do. Your argument is senseless.
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post #21 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by toadfannc View Post

Why the hell should I have to pay for:

12 shopping networks
Multiple religious channels
An ever-expanding line-up of Spanish-only channels
Yada, yada, yada

Just because you hate football, doesn't mean that the rest of us do. Your argument is senseless.

All of the channels you mention are ABSOLUTELY FREE to the cable operator, and other than wasting some "shelf space", have no impact on your service.

The NFLN situation is not really a shelf space issue anyway. It's a rate card issue, and being forced to put the channel on basic issue.
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post #22 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 07:39 AM
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Why the hell should I have to pay for:

12 shopping networks.

In reality, the shopping channels pay for carriage, so they help keep your rates down. That is why there are so !@#$ many of them.

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
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post #23 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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In reality, the shopping channels pay for carriage, so they help keep your rates down. That is why there are so !@#$ many of them.

In fact, we never booked income from the shopping channels, we just took the checks and had a quarterly Friday night kegger for the employees.

But then that was Texas in the 1980's. Could never happen today.
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post #24 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 07:51 AM
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If the revenue per sub numbers here are correct, then TWC is not doing this for the consumer. However, the NFL is not, either. They have moved games from the networks, which are freely available to all, to a cable channel. Now, they are blaming cable operators for not jumping at their offering of the "most popular" sport. By bringing up porn in this conversation, they have not only made in nonsensical comparison, but IMO have demonstrated little class.

I understand that there will be more national games available, but what does everyone think Thursday & Saturday cable numbers for regular season NFL games will be? I know die-hard NLF fans that don't watch the 4 currently available Sunday/Monday games. I only bring this up because the creation/movement of these games to/for NFL Network has just created another high cost basic cable channel. I would gladly pay a dollar a month for it (or maybe $3), but I can understand why non sports fans would find this objectionable.
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post #25 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jpco View Post

If the revenue per sub numbers here are correct, then TWC is not doing this for the consumer. However, the NFL is not, either. They have moved games from the networks, which are freely available to all, to a cable channel. Now, they are blaming cable operators for not jumping at their offering of the "most popular" sport. By bringing up porn in this conversation, they have not only made in nonsensical comparison, but IMO have demonstrated little class.

I understand that there will be more national games available, but what does everyone think Thursday & Saturday cable numbers for regular season NFL games will be? I know die-hard NLF fans that don't watch the 4 currently available Sunday/Monday games. I only bring this up because the creation/movement of these games to/for NFL Network has just created another high cost basic cable channel. I would gladly pay a dollar a month for it (or maybe $3), but I can understand why non sports fans would find this objectionable.

You're being logical and rational here. Be careful.

And I agree that the NFL spokesman's comments underline who the bad guy really is.
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post #26 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by toadfannc View Post

Just because you hate football, doesn't mean that the rest of us do. Your argument is senseless.

It's only senseless if the complaint is narrowed only to those channels that someone doesn't like. If you feel that all channels should be priced and offered individually, then it makes perfect sense.

Personally, I hope the all the cablecos except Cablevision get stuck with a massive fee or headache over this. They all aggressively opposed a la carte or eliminating bundling and I see very little difference between a company forcing carriage of channels and/or tier placement by leveraging a channel that is in demand - and the NFL leveraging the demand for its games to force carriage of their network.

ESPN did the same thing by leveraging their NFL games and look where we are now. The NFL could expand the very same way - but that's what the cablecos (and D*) fought for - so that's exactly what they deserve.
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The reason TWC wants NFL Network in the sports tier isnt because they dont want to raise basic cable rates....they want more people subscribing to that sports tier, as well as a good excuse to raise the price of it. Add the NFL Network and, even better, ESPNU, and they can probably double the price of the sports tier as well as double the subscribers. So go ahead and say "stick to your guns TWC", but they arent defending you, they are just looking for more money.

Also, if TWC feels that not everyone cares about football so they shouldnt have to pay for it, why the hell do I get the Golf Channel on standard basic?
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post #28 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 04:13 PM
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Not to get off topic, but I wish we could pay for each channel individualy. Out of about 200 channels I probably only watch about 12 of them.
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post #29 of 1586 Old 07-30-2006, 04:51 PM
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I'd be in for less than 12, but I'm sorry to say that the cost of those 12 a la carte, if they were not subsidized by all subscribers, would probably be the same or more than I'm paying for cable right now. And my willingness to pay for NFL Network during the season would do nothing to help my bottom line.
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post #30 of 1586 Old 08-01-2006, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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NFL Network Sues Time Warner To Stay On Systems
Monday, July 31, 2006 02:12 PM - WBEN Newsroom

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - When the clock strikes midnight, the NFL Network will be off local cable systems. Time Warner will take over the Adelphia systems at that time. The NFL Network now is suing to keep the network on Time Warner.

NFL Network spokesman Seth Polansky says the lawsuit is a last ditch effort, because Time Warner will not even answer calls from the network trying to plead its case.

http://www.wben.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=05474
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