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October 10, 2015

cable providers

Fox-Cablevision Blackout: The Ugliest Retransmission Fight Yet

by Gary Susman, posted Oct 18th 2010 5:00PM
New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions, Oct. 17, 2010
We've seen a lot of fights over the past 12 months between channels and cable service providers over proposed fee increases, fights that have led to threatened blackouts, and in some cases actual blackouts, of popular event programming.

But no fight this year has gotten as ugly as the current one between Fox and Cablevision, which has resulted in a blackout currently in its third day, a shutoff that has already cost 3 million households in three states the opportunity to watch some much anticipated baseball and football games.

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HBO Has 'True Blood' Buzz, So Why Is It Bleeding Subscribers?

by Gary Susman, posted Sep 13th 2010 5:00PM
Alexander Skarsgård in 'True Blood'Not even Sookie Stackhouse's mysterious fairy abilities or Eric Northman's vampire strength are powerful enough to keep HBO's subscriber base from seeping away.

As a feature in today's Hollywood Reporter notes, the cable network is just coming off a hit season of 'True Blood' (which wrapped with a third-season finale last night) and its usual domination of the Emmys, led by its prize-winning marquee mini-series 'The Pacific.' And yet its subscriber base has slipped to 28.6 million, its lowest total in four years, suffering two quarterly periods of back-to-back slippage for the first time in six years.

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Disney and Time Warner Cable Reach Truce, But More Battles Loom

by Gary Susman, posted Aug 30th 2010 9:00PM
ESPN's Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico with Frank Gifford
The good news for Time Warner Cable's nearly 15 million subscribers in 28 states: It looks like the cable behemoth is no longer in danger of losing such Disney-owned channels as ABC and ESPN on the eve of college and pro football seasons and the new primetime broadcast season. The bad news: The deal between the two entertainment giants leaves the door open for further clashes between programmers and cable service providers, disputes that are likely to add to your cable and Internet bills in the near future.

Disney and TWC had been battling for weeks
in the run-up to Sept. 2, the day Disney's current contract with TWC expires. Disney wanted higher fees for its popular channels, including ABC (which cable service providers used to pay nothing for, since its signal was broadcast over the air for free), the Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2 and other viewer favorites. If its terms weren't met before the contract expired, Disney had threatened to pull the signals and darken those channels for TWC subscribers. For its part, TWC had resisted the higher carriage fees, though it would ultimately be passing on those increased costs to its subscribers.

Now, however, the two sides have reached a truce, and while there is no official deal in place, both sides seem to expect the details to be worked out before the threatened signal pull-out at midnight Wednesday night. While neither side will discuss the details of the negotiation, it's clear that Disney has won some concessions, which will eventually mean higher cable bills for TWC customers. And probably for other cable customers as well, since the current battle is hardly the first that has erupted this year over carriage fees; nor is it likely to be the last.

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Disney vs. Time Warner Cable: Yet Another Battle That May Take Away Your Favorite Channels or Raise Your Bill

by Gary Susman, posted Aug 7th 2010 6:00PM
Modern Family
Playing this week in summer reruns: another battle between a cable network and a service provider that threatens to either take away your favorite channels or increase your monthly cable bill.

There have been several such battles this year. The latest is between Disney (parent company to such widely-viewed channels as ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN) and Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest service provider. Like other programmers in those earlier squabbles, Disney is negotiating for increased carriage fees, the per-subscriber amounts that the service provider pays to carry each channel.

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Weather Channel vs. Dish Network: Storm Warning for Viewers

by Gary Susman, posted May 25th 2010 2:00PM
Last week's dispute between the Weather Channel and Dish Network seems to have been resolved, with the Weather Channel getting most of what it wanted from the satellite service provider.

But the underlying issues -- whether the Weather Channel's new entertainment programming is doing a dangerous disservice to viewers when major storms loom, and the increasing pressure from cable channels for greater fee concessions from service providers -- are far from resolved and are only going to get worse in the months ahead.

Viewers at home should brace themselves for rough winds.

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