Sunday, March 7, 2010

ABC Turned Off For Cablevision Viewers

I hope no Cablevision customer was surprised when they woke this morning to find WABC turned off. Cablevision has the leverage on access to viewers and ABC has the determination to lie down for their license fee. The result, no agreement, and ABC's only response to turn off the signal they provide to Cablevision. "Just after the stroke of midnight Sunday, 3 million Cablevision viewers in the New York area saw their televisions turn into pumpkins. At least that was the case for those subscribers' ABC channel, which went dark because of an impasse by the cable operator and broadcaster to resolve a feud over transmission fees."

The question is, who looks worse, or perhaps, does either company look better. Most likely it is a lose-lose situation; for ABC and the viewer, not Cablevision. Cablevision figures that a significant number of their customers won't drop the service; they will simply wait it out. That was the learning with the Scripps negotiation and is consistent for this current one.

Most likely, negotiations are on again today, but I personally doubt that the situation will change unless it is ABC that walks away from the edge and accepts less than what they may be asking for. It's Sunday so I doubt the FCC will do anything to push either to a quick resolution that results in a signal being turned back on. Likely, Cablevision has already given its best offer and has no intention of offering more. Who will blink first? At the end of the day, my bet is that ABC rolls over first. Whether it is today, before the Oscars begin, or after is up to ABC.

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