Far be it for us to be the umpteenth person to assail Wired editor Chris Anderson’s much quoted and yet much maligned book, The Long Tail, but Time Warner would rather keep churning out more “Dark Knights” and “Harry Potters” than fiddling down its long tail, thank you very much
Who was the big winner in the Time Warner Cable-Viacom dispute? A few newspapers, it seems, since they got a little extra holiday cash when Viacom decided to take out some advertisements and take their fight with the cable operator public.
Viacom and Time Warner Cable are doing their best to make sure that television addicts around the country get a chance to go outside and stretch their legs come New Year’s Day. Of course, the reason they’re doing their part for physical fitness has little to do with ensuring the health of their viewers.******As Reuters reports, Viacom — the company run by financially challenged media mogul Sumner Redstone — provides programming to cable networks like Time Warner Cable for a fee. Now we’re at a time when Viacom and Time Warner Cable are renegotiating the fee, a regular occurrence. Equally regular are the disputes that arise as the negotiators try to determine what a fair price is.******The ultimate loser turns out to be you, the faithful TV watcher, because the last resort of companies like Viacom is to pull their programs off the air. The idea is that sends watchers into paroxysms of rage, usually directed at the cable company that they give all their money to every month. Eventually, the idea goes, the cable company cries Uncle! and agrees to pay more money to bring you the programming. Yes, your bill goes up too, as it always does.******Here’s a sample of what will stop being broadcast on Jan. 1: Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Hills.******And here’s a sample of the pre-packaged righteous indignation that you hear at times like this from the companies:***
Viacom: Time Warner Cable has dismissed our efforts at a fair compromise… As a result, we are sorry to say that for Time Warner Cable customers our networks will go dark as of 12:01 on January 1st.
Verizon’s new fiber optic (FiOS) TV service added fewer subscribers this quarter with just 176,000 compared with 263,000 in the first quarter. This surprised some analysts who had expected FiOS to continue its same rapid pace of growth, backed by Verizon’s huge marketing spend and aggressive push.
Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield downgraded Time Warner Cable on Monday with one eye on Verizon’s launch of FiOS TV in New York (You have to register to read the link).
So who’s winning the pay-TV so far this year? With days to go until two of the biggest cable operators (Time Warner Cable on Wednesday and Comcast on Thursday) report first quarter financial results, Reuters canvassed eight Wall Street analysts for their estimates of subscriber net additions during the period.
Two sectors may be getting a new lease on life after the Wall Street Journal reported news that a handful of the top U.S. cable operators are exploring a joint venture with Sprint Nextel and Clearwire to create a national high-speed wireless network to fight off the telcos for subscribers.