Cable Operators

Time Warner Cable: More Than 400,000 Visited Its Programming Choice Web Site

12/08/2009 3:07 PM Eastern

Time Warner Cable said that over 400,000 consumers have visited its Web site that informs users of the choices a cable operator has to make when negotiating contracts with programmers.
The nation's No. 2 operator on Nov. 25, launched www.rolloverorgettough.com, where it is seeking consumer input and providing users with a better understanding of programmers' demands for "huge" price increases and how they drive up the cost of cable video service. "Roll Over or Get Tough" is a multifaceted campaign targeting unfair price demands by TV networks, at times as high as 300% more than the current agreement.
Time Warner Cable, which over the last two days has reached a one-year retransmission-consent extension with Sinclair Broadcast Group and a new, four-year pact with Local TV, is facing license-fee negotiations and expiring year-end contracts with a number of leading programmers.Services whose contracts are approaching term include The Weather Channel, some owned by Scripps Interactive, and such Fox properties as FX, Fuel, Speed, Fox Soccer Channel and a number of its regional sports networks. Moreover, Time Warner Cable faces retransmission-consent negotiations with Fox Broadcasting.
"We're delighted with the results so far," said Time Warner chairman, president and CEO Glenn Britt in statement. "Over 150,000 people have left comments, and 95% of them voted for ‘Get Tough.' Our customers clearly agree that the current programming business model is broken. One comment we're hearing pretty consistently is that customers would like the choice to buy smaller packages of channels. As an industry, we need to listen to those kinds of concerns."
In a press release issued today, the cable operator listed the following quotes from respondents:
"As a customer of Time Warner Cable I appreciate this issue being brought to my attention. Time Warner Cable, please do your best on our behalf to push back against these TV networks who are driving up the cost of cable TV." (LB)
"We need to force them to look at how to control their bottom line rather than just increasing prices." (RS)
"This is certainly NOT the time to deprive the American family of the last bastion of affordable in-home entertainment." (RCS)

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