Sunday, March 07, 2010
HOSTAGE NEGOTIATIONS: ABC IS WRONG; CABLEVISION IS WRONG
ABC is wrong to hold the Oscar telecast hostage to try to extort a bigger fee from Cablevision.
Cablevision is wrong to block the Oscar telecast to try to negotiate a smaller fee to ABC.
Why ABC is morally wrong:
The Oscar telecast is not an ABC show. In agreeing to telecast it they have a public service obligation to movie fans and the movie industry to do whatever it takes to make the show available to anyone who normally gets ABC and wants to watch it.
Why ABC is shooting itself in the foot:
ABC has a business model in which they try to get the best ratings, so they can get the most money from advertising. Not showing the Oscars could hurt them financially across the board: with viewer boycotts, falling ratings, and advertiser disgust.
If they want to change their business model to a fee based system, they need to do it a different way. This will cripple good will with any potential paying customer.
Why Cablevision is shooting itself in the foot:
Cablevision has competition from satellite TV, Verizon, and the Internet. If they do not provide good service, their customers will abandon them for other more reliable suppliers.
Why Cablevision is morally wrong:
Cablevision customers buy the service in the expectation of good reception for all TV programming. Cablevision has an obligation to carry important TV programming, because their customers are dependent on Cablevision to supply a good signal to whatever programming the customer has purchased.
As far as I'm concerned, if Cablevision is unable or unwilling to carry the signal for a standard channel with important programming that I want, then it is essentially broken. I should not have to pay Cablevision when it is broken. If it is broken because a cable breaks I should not have to pay. Worse, if it is broken because they choose to break it themselves, I should not have to pay. Customers should not pay Cablevision for any day that ABC is not working.
If ABC does not find a way to put the Oscar Show they agreed to broadcast on Cablevision, they should be forever barred from carrying the Oscar show, or any other major event they do not produce themselves. And the FCC should fine them some multiple of the fee they are greedily trying to extract from Cablevision.
Conclusion: WORK IT OUT, KIDS!