February 27, 2013 |
A New York cable company fired the opening salvo in a long-anticipated media war that could give consumers more choices in subscribing to pay television - and upend the way companies have long done business. Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. filed suit Tuesday in federal court in New York accusing Viacom Inc., parent of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, of anti-competitive behavior. At issue is whether Viacom uses its leverage to force distributors such as Cablevision to carry low-rated networks in return for access to its popular channels, a practice known in the industry as bundling.
February 1, 2013
Re "Cable rates on rise as users fall," Column, Jan. 29 The problems with cable companies are not limited to the rate increases. Some channels cannot be viewed simply because certain carriers refuse to offer them. For example, the new Pac-12 Network has exclusive rights to televise certain college sporting events in that conference. So if you are a UCLA or USC football or basketball fan and your cable company has not bought into the Pac-12 Network, you will be unable to view many of the games you'd like to see - at any price.
January 23, 2013 |
Few cable companies have been as vocal about the rising costs of sports programming as Time Warner Cable. "What was a minor problem is turning into an astronomical problem," Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt told the Wall Street Journal just over a year ago. "The ultimate solution is to get that programming on some sort of smaller packaging scheme. " But Britt's words don't match up with Time Warner Cable's actions. As of late, few cable companies have been as instrumental in driving up sports costs as Time Warner Cable.
December 18, 2012 |
Time Warner Cable plans to drop the small Santa Monica-based channel Ovation from its programming lineup at year's end -- a blow to the independent network that has attempted to elevate TV coverage of the arts and contemporary culture. The nation's second-largest cable television provider said its decision came down to simple economics. There hasn't been enough demand for the channel, which was seeking a modest rate increase when negotiations over a new distribution agreement stalled several months ago. “Steeply escalating programming costs are forcing us to closely assess each network as it comes up for renewal,” Time Warner Cable said Tuesday in a statement.
December 5, 2012
Re "Sports cost, even if you don't watch," Dec. 2 The story about all cable and satellite customers paying the cost of sports channels even when not watched left out an alternative: an antenna. A year ago I installed a rooftop antenna; those who live in areas with strong signals can probably get by with new rabbit ear-type antennas. My TV now receives 45 channels, many in glorious high definition, for free. Recently I added an online video box, and the free content is beyond amazing.
September 22, 2012
In the dark Saturday's football game between USC and California will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, which is carried by only a few local cable companies. A list of cable operators who will - and won't - be offering the game: Has the game: Suddenlink, Cox Cable Communications, Time Warner Cable, Dish. Doesn't have the game: AT&T U-verse, Calneva Broadband, Catalina Cable TV, Champion Broadband, Charter Communications, Lone Pine TV, Mediacom, Verizon, DirecTV.
September 14, 2012 |
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to phase out rules that required cable operators that own programming to make that content available to rival pay-TV distributors such as satellite broadcasters. On Friday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski signaled that he is not interested in extending the so-called program access rules beyond their expiration date in October, people inside the regulatory agency said. An FCC chairman rarely pushes an item unless he feels he has the support of the majority of the commissioners, which means it is unlikely the rules will get a last-minute reprieve.
August 24, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — Verizon Wireless won final federal approval for its $3.6-billion purchase of airwave licenses primarily from large cable companies, but regulators slapped additional conditions onto the deal. The approval by the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday followed the go-ahead last week from the Justice Department, which also placed conditions on the deal to ease concerns that it would decrease competition in the telecommunications market. The FCC voted unanimously to allow Verizon to obtain airwave licenses from a consortium of cable companies — Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks — that once had hoped to launch its own mobile services.
August 17, 2012 |
The Department of Justice says Verizon can go ahead with its $3.6-billion purchase of wireless spectrum from the cable industry, but not without some tweaks to help protect consumers from telecom behemoths becoming too cozy. Specifically, the DOJ said Thursday that it's placing limits on sales of cable services at Verizon Wireless stores - a move that had appeared to relegate Verizon's own TV and Internet offerings to the back burner and make the market less competitive. I'm not a told-you-so kind of guy, but this is exactly what I warned of in a column last month questioning how this deal worked in consumers' best interest, not to mention how downplaying the company's own services was good for Verizon shareholders.
August 16, 2012 |
A $3.6-billion deal between Verizon Wireless and several cable companies received a go-ahead Thursday from the U.S. Justice Department. The agreement now awaits final approval from the Federal Communications Commission. If approved, the deal would allow Verizon to continue expanding its 4G LTE network by gaining unused portions of the airwaves from the cable companies. T-Mobile would also benefit from the approval. The company entered into a deal with Verizon in June that would help T-Mobile improve its own 4G network and an LTE network expected to roll out next year.