What Happens When Cable And Broadcasting Companies End Up In A Pricing Dispute?
This For That
Having worked in the cable and communications industry, I do know a thing or two about what happens between a cable and broadcasting company when they undergo pricing and programming negotiations.
It's a dirty, dirty, nasty, little business where greed overruns a never-ending loop of retransmission demands, and in the end, one way or another, it is usually the consumer who pays the inevitable price.
The first thing you need to know is by federal regulation, the cable industry can not sell each cable channel individually. To the insiders of the industry, the 'a la carte' ideal is the cable subscribers dream, and as long as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates and protects the rights of the broadcasting companies over this issue as a consumer do realize that this option will NEVER happen!
Please remember, the next time you call a cable representative and start to complain, hammering with the age old question ...
WHY DO I HAVE TO BUY A WHOLE TIER WHEN ALL I WANT IS THE ONE CHANNEL?
Be it known from here on out that all broadcast stations are guaranteed to be carried on a system of tiers. Don't be the ignorant subscriber who doesn't have a clue.
You no longer have an excuse.
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Who's In Control?
It is usually the broadcasting company who makes a demand since the law does give the broadcasters the right to make the cable companies pay for their programming, and it is up to the cable company to match, meet, or disagree with the broadcasting company's terms.
Here's the catch: Cable companies do not need on-air stations for their success.
However, broadcasting companies DO NEED cable companies to distribute their carriage based on the fact that paid advertisers need viewership.
When all is said and done, it is the cable companies who hold the upper hand.
It is important to know that as long as the cable companies hold out and do not cave in to broadcasting companies and their pricing structure demands, then you as the consumer are protected from outrageous price hikes.
So here's another tip the next time you call a cable company and complain that your favorite channel is blacked-out because of on-going negotiations. You might want to sit back and just be patient. Yes, you might lose out on your favorite show, but usually, the cable company is gratuitous enough to credit you back for the time and loss of your channel during negotiations, and you as the consumer eventually win win.
I'm one of those consumers who prefer On Demand programming like Netflix over subscribing to a set digital cable provider. Because I like to stay up to date with continuous world wide news, I do still subscribe to a basic cable package, but that is the extent of my programming.
More and more people are ditching the cable companies in preference to more control over what it is that they need and actually view.
Perhaps one day the cable and broadcasting companies will finally recognize the need to do a major overhaul of the entire industry. It is very likely the FCC regulations may one day have to allow for the 'a la carte' option as the consumer demands. However, this move is a last resort step in the event the industry should flop going belly-up in lieu of consumer abandonment.
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