Thursday, June 28, 2012

Would Consumers Drop Their Cable Provider If They Didn't Carry Certain Networks

What if you found out that some of your networks were no longer to be carried on your current channel line-up? What if you were also told that as a good customer, you would immediately see a drop in the cost of your cable bill, say $10 a month, and a commitment to lowering your cable bill by only bringing you a smaller but more favorable line-up of linear networks?  Would you immediately call another platform provider that overbuilds your community? Would you yell and scream but ultimately do nothing with your current cable operator? Or would you thank them for finally getting that rates need to come down in order to keep their customers happy?

Well the test case could be just around the corner.  According to Multichannel, both Dish Network and AT&T U-verse could decide that rather than keep negotiating a lesser license fee increase that they will simply drop all the AMC Networks from their respective line-ups after June 30.  That could mean no AMC, no WE TV, no IFC, and no Sundance Channel.  For AT&T, it is about the license fee increases being proposed for the networks; For Dish, the issue is more than price, it is about the bitter relationship with its former parent company, Cablevision, and their VOOM business.

Could AMC Networks become the test case that cable operators will use to determine what channels they must carry on basic that may affect carrier switching or total cord cutting?  Are these operators willing to take the risk or will it end up like all other negotiations where eventually a deal is hammered out and the networks remain on the air?  AT&T may ultimately find a financial solution but I believe that Dish could just test a scenario of doing without.

Today Show Needs To Change Even More

Today Show finally officially announced this morning that Ann Curry will be stepping away from the anchor desk and pursuing more journalistic endeavors inside NBC News.  As an avid Today Show viewer, Ann never made a strong impression as a co-host, neither jelling with Matt Lauer new carrying well the softer, humanistic pieces. It was simply not a good fit and created some cringe-worthy interviews.  Frankly, not all Ann's fault, wrong person for the wrong segment.

But Ann isn't the only problem with the Today Show.  Look no further than their weather person Al Roker and there lies additional blame.  His personality overwhelms the broadcast, his segments too much about him and less about the weather.  Among his signature bits, "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" and " These are my people" are annoying at best, but over the top mainly.  He is in fact, best enjoyed when he plays less bombastic and loud. Willard Scott may have been the role model for Al, but Willard never seemed to overwhelm the show like Al always tries to do.

Lastly, changes in the hosting should also go along with changes in the format back to a more newsy approach in the first hour, less so in the second hour.  Sure an interview with a guy that screams on a roller coaster is cute but not worthy for a first hour newscast.  There must be something better to put on.  Pick your segments more wisely and put the human interest and celebrity spotting into hour number 2.

Change for the Today may not be easy but it sure is necessary.  The moment people become disenchanted they break away from their routine and try another show.  Winning back viewers will not be easy, especially if they have found turned away.  Make us like you again, make us respect what you are telling us, and treat us to stories that define best what you want to become.  The Today Show has a long and storied history, let's get back to what makes it click.