Another expired contract, another drop of channels until negotiations are resolved. Today, the battle is between Dish Network and the Turner Channels, including CNN, Cartoon, and TCM. Excluded in this particular negotiation are TBS and TNT. And the loser at the moment are Dish customers who love these channels. As I have said before, this chess game strategy of dropping channels to incite pressure has become part of the playbook between operator and network.
Will customers drop their Dish subscription? They might, but the next cable operator they sign up with will eventually go through a similar battle. Just ask Time Warner Cable when it dropped CBS last year. CBS may have learned some lessons from that last negotiation. With its announcement of a streaming linear and on demand service, CBS can offer customers an alternative viewing choice. Turner may feel a bit of a sting from the loss of 14 million customers from Dish. Whether it is a long or short term drop, Turner might do well following the CBS model to build out a streaming platform of its own.
At the end, these streaming a la carte channels may solve some of these drop issues. Customers who try to buy multiple a la carte services will only begin to recognize that the bundled cost of services provides a better value for a large number of channels. Only when we care about a select few number of streaming subscription channels is a la carte the cheaper choice.