By urging customers to vote on whether Time Warner should "roll over," which apparently means paying up, or "get tough," which apparently means reducing costs in the vast Time Warner corporate empire, the cable operator is clearly looking to soften the blow when it decides to drop some channels when the programmers ask for more money.
Time Warner is hoping to make customers believe that it will be their decision to drop the channels, not the cable operator's. (By the way, if you vote for "Roll Over," at Time Warner's web site, you get the following message: "Are you sure you don't want to 'get tough?'"
"No one likes paying more," Time Warner says at its web site. "You don’t. We don’t. Yet, every time our contracts with TV program providers come up for renewal, that’s what we face. Price increases. Big ones. Up to 300% more. Sometimes we can avoid passing them on to you. Sometimes we can’t. Sometimes, a network will threaten to take your shows away if we don’t roll over. Whenever that’s happened in the past, we’d make the best deal we could and hope that would be the end of it. But it never was. So no more. The networks shouldn’t be in the driver’s seat on what you watch and how much you pay."
But if you're a Time Warner subscriber -- and the cable operator soon drops your favorite show and/or channel due to a programming fee dispute -- ask yourself if the other major TV providers are still carrying it.
And if they are, then ask yourself why you're still a Time Warner subscriber.
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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 703-505-3064.
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