Battle of the Airwaves

Just a few days ago, I stumbled across an interesting article in the business section of my local paper.  This article discussed the war of fees between the Sinclair Broadcasting Group and Comcast Comcast.  Here is the deal:  Sinclair Broadcasting Group broadcasts over the open air for free with its affiliates Fox and CW throughout the country.  In a move to increase revenue due to lack luster ad sales at its stations, Sinclair Broadcasting has decided it would charge cable companies like Comcast a subscriber fee for carrying their stations on their network.  To provide a bit of perspective, historically cable companies have not had to pay for carrying local channels (ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS, FOX, & CW) that are available for free over the open air.  Lisa Atlman at Comcast has stated it well, We believe that customers should not have to pay for free TV.  Our goal is to avoid impact to our customers and will continue to offer Sinclair’s broadcast stations unless they demand that those stations be removed.”  However, the current law favors the broadcasters in this instance and provides them the right to pull their stations from cable if an agreement is not met.   So, what does this mean to the customer?  Well two things actually.  First, the possible loss of a few channels that carry popular hits like – American Idol, 24, Smallville, Simpsons, etc.  The second impact would be higher costs per month from the cable companies who will then pass yet  another programming cost to the consumers.  Cable companies are already raising prices from 5-10% each year.  To put the price increase into perspective, inflation is currently around 3%.  Cable companies’ increases are outpacing inflation just to line their own pockets with gold.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I am truly a free market capitalists.  However, when price increases outpace inflation by threefold, we have a problem with the system.  I wish there were other avenues for the consumer, but satellite TV is also be hit by the same threats.   I guess my message here is to educate the consumer about the price wars the broadcasters are current waging.  As consumers we should voice our concerns to the FCC and our representatives in Congress so that laws that prevent or stop these price increases can be created.

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2 responses to “Battle of the Airwaves

  1. Personally with the availability of DVD, anything that is seen on cable, can eventually be acquired on DVD’s. DVDs have one initial cost and then one owns then for all future viewings. I agree cable is getting very expensive. Your Blog information has enlightened me to the going on’s between the broadcasting groups, so I guess for me, I stick to the DVD’s, and of course some of my VHS’s (not yet updated).
    Thanks for the blog, looing forward to reading more of them.
    Diane

  2. Hello. Just found your blog and I think your post is quite interesting. I look forward to reading more.

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