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April 05, 2012

Time Warner Might Cancel Deal With Current TV, Due To Low Ratings

Let's first of all bitch that we do not have a la carte cable service. The cable companies negotiate a fee to pay media channels; then, without asking us, they extract that cost from us in our cable bill.

ESPN is very popular, but you know what? I don't watch it. And no one has ever asked me if I want to pay $6 a month for it.

The pay channels -- HBO, Starz -- ask me if I'd like their service.

Why doesn't ESPN? Why am I currently spending $0.25 per month, every month, for Current? (I'm making all these figures up, but you get the point.)

I know the answer they'd offer-- Because when we negotiate these payments and extract them from you involuntarily, it creates an economy of scale and you get the channel cheaper than you otherwise would.

Uhhh... yeah, here's the thing: I don't want ESPN. (Sure, Monday Night Football, occasionally, but you know what? I'll endure without it.)

I don't watch it. Ergo, the best price, for me, is $0.00. No economy of scale is going to get the cost down to my preferred price point.

The other answer would be, I assume: Without forced contributions, very few of these channels would exist at all.

Yeah I'm file that one under Things Which Ain't My Problem. Shock -- a product few people are interested in won't command much money, and may fail.

And all the rest of them. BET? Univision? Let the people watching them pay for them. I'll pay for FX and USA, and Spike, I guess, and maybe TNT, and that's pretty much it.

I should be able to choose which networks I want, too.

In the case of Current, it probably wants a great deal more from Time Warner than ratings would suggest it's conceivably worth. So Time Warner may not continue carrying it.

According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, Time Warner Cable Incís carriage agreement with Current TV stipulates that, if the left-leaning political news network fails to meet a minimum threshold for overall viewers in a given quarter, financial penalties such as Current TV being required to increase marketing and promotion spending on the cable operatorís systems are triggered.

If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.

This is probably a negotiating position to get Current to renegotiate its fee to something lower.

Which is bullshit too.

How about $0.00? That's a low fee. That's what I'd like to pay.

And if that means I don't get Current -- oh, well!

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posted by Ace at 01:45 PM

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