You’ve probably heard about the unpleasant disagreements between cable companies and broadcast networks. It’s an ugly situation that puts customers right in the middle, and we don’t like it any more than you do.
“As broadcasters now demand significant cash for carriage of their signals, consumers are held hostage as MVPDs must choose between a rock and a hard place: pay spiraling carriage fees and raise consumer rates, or be forced by broadcasters to drop local signals,” TWC wrote to the FCC in March.
“The recurring threats of blackouts, high-stakes public ‘showdown’ negotiations, and recent economic analyses have all confirmed what programming distributors have known for years: the retransmission consent regime is broken.”
What’s notable about this plea is that it’s supported by several public interest groups that are often at odds with Time Warner on issues like net neutrality: Public Knowledge and the New America Foundation. Verizon, DirecTV, and the American Cable Association also signed the letter.
This isn’t just something specific to Time Warner Cable. AT&T’s having their own trouble, and Cablevision had problems during this year’s Oscars.
We’re relaunching our Roll Over or Get Tough website today in order to keep cable customers informed about retransmission consent issues. We want you to understand the situation and know what’s going on behind the scenes. And we want to be as transparent as possible about how the TV business works.
But most of all, we want to hear from you. Late last year, we launched this website and asked for your input. In just six weeks, the website had over one million unique visitors. Commenters on our website overwhelmingly told us to “get tough” in a particularly difficult round of negotiations.
We listened and we got tough. And together, we were able to reach far better agreements than would have otherwise been possible. Thank you for making sure your voice was heard.
This site is for you — our customers. We are working hard to understand your concerns. The content on this site is meant to answer your questions, and let you know what’s really going on behind the scenes in the television business.
Education is the best solution to this problem. We’re confident that once you really understand how this business works and see what’s at stake, you’ll understand our point of view.
You can join the discussion yourself and let us know what’s on your mind this time around, too. We’re not afraid to take a little heat when we’ve earned it, so let it loose. And as always, you can leave your comments in our comments section, too. We’ll be listening.