An interesting warning note popped up on Time Warner Cable’s programming alerts page for the Orange County/Los Angeles area: Contracts with several channels are about to expire and could be discontinued.
Time Warner Cable Los Angeles’ agreements with programmers to carry their services routinely expire from time to time. We are usually able to obtain renewals or extensions of such agreements, and carriage of programming services is discontinued only in rare circumstances. The following agreements with programmers are due to expire soon, and we may be required to cease carriage of one or more of these services in the near future [see list below right]
|FOX Sports West|
|FOX Sports ESPANOL|
|Great American Country|
Chances of this happening? Not much. Time Warner says “only in rare circumstances.”
Still, it’s an interesting note because of the company’s latest marketing campaign to make customers aware of why prices go up every year. It’s the TV networks who demand more money, some up to 300 percent more than last year, according to Time Warner.
I just interviewed the folks behind HowCableShouldBe.com, which has a nifty chart detailing how much the average consumer pays monthly to get ESPN ($3.80), the Disney Channel ($0.95) and several other channels. The information is two years old and prices are probably higher by now, said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, which started the site. The group is pushing the a la carte option in which consumers only pay for the channels they want.
“The need for the American public to understand more about this issue is paramount to breaking the logjam,” Winter said. “When more Americans are made aware of how they’re getting fleeced, I think they’re going to be angry and will have very powerful leverage. … The programmers really hold the cards. If you want to get the Fox Broadcasting Network, Fox is going to force you to take FX and Fox Sports.”
More on my interview with Winter later so check back soon.
Programming agreements tend to expire at the year’s end. The public doesn’t hear about this unless negotiations get messy, like last year’s New Year’s Eve battle between Time Warner and Viacom, which provides 19 channels to Time Warner.
Speaking of prices, I hear that Time Warner has begun sending out notices that rates are rising next year. This doesn’t affect all customers but if you get the letter, let me know so I can determine price increases. Feel free to comment below or send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
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