As mentioned on this blog earlier, HDNet has officially been yanked from Time Warner Cable’s lineup in Orange County and the nation. And I’ve heard from a few unhappy readers who already miss the assortment of high-definition movies, mixed-martial arts coverage, news and other odd shows.
Time Warner confirmed two weeks ago that it is parting ways with the Dallas-based high-definition TV network because the two failed “to reach terms.” Time Warner wouldn’t elaborate on the loss of the channels, which were part of the $5/month “HD Tier.” In their place, Time Warner added the Smithsonian HD Channel and Crime & Investigation HD.
But according to HDNet owner Mark Cuban (yes, he’s also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks), the deal wasn’t about the usual increase in carriage fees, which is the money companies pay per subscriber to offer a network’s TV channels. (Remember the whole Viacom fiasco when Viacom’s fee increase nearly resulted in the loss of Jon Stewart, Sponge Bob and MTV?)
“No, the exact opposite. We cut the fees considerably,” said Cuban, via e-mail.
Interestingly, Cuban says he was trying to get HDNet to become part of Time Warner’s digital basic cable package so that all customers could access the channel. HDNet Movies would remain on the special HD tier. The new deal would be “considerably less than what they were paying to have both on the (HD) tier,” he said.
Cuban’s words: “So they could provide HDNet to all of their subscribers and keep HDNet Movies on the tier, for less than they are paying IN TOTAL today for their limited distribution HD Tier,” he wrote.
(I’m waiting for any further response from Time Warner, which I’ll insert here if they offer one up.)
That would certainly appease reader Lorna Fuhrman, from Huntington Beach, who wrote to me saying, “Time Warner likes to denigrate the content of HDNet. Just the opposite is true. HDNet offered extremely well-done programming…” and goes on to list her favorites.
“…My hope in sending this to you,” she continued, “is that you might either publish it or forward it to Time Warner programming management to learn how they can in good conscience or business practice charge $5 extra for the old programs on Crime & Investigation HD and the very limited subject matter on Smithsonian HD.”
Well… the loss of HDNet may not be final. Cuban encourages HDNet fans to contact the local Time Warner general manager.
For Orange County and Los Angeles, that person is Deborah Picciolo, who is president of residential services in Time Warner’s West Region. She is based in Chatsworth, CA. The best contact information for her is listed on Time Warner’s site, which I’ve pasted it below:
President, Residential Services
Time Warner Cable – West Region
Customer Care Communications
9260 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
And if that doesn’t work, there are always cable alternatives, such as Dish, DirecTV, AT&T, Verizon and others, as at least one now ex-Time Warner customer discovered.
“Every contact in favor of HDNet helps!” Cuban wrote.
Recent Time Warner Cable news: