You can manage just fine without cable television (trust me it’s been three years and counting) and never miss a beat from your favorite shows or sports. Keep that in mind because your cable bill is going to be much more expensive now that Rupert Murdoch and the Fox Corporation has successfully negotiated new payments and for the first time ever a subscription fee for a broadcast channel from Time Warner Cable. Expect other cable companies (like Comcast) to fall in line.
What does this mean for consumers? Well, the funny thing is nothing will change content-wise. Most stuff on the air will still suck royally, but instead of paying $50 for basic cable you might start paying $75 in the near future.
They argue that they deserve more money for having invested millions in their original programming. Cable executives say privately that the demands, and resulting fights, are increasing in frequency. And every time they clash, there is a chance that viewers will miss out.
The sports network Versus, owned by Comcast, has been off of DirecTV’s satellite service for three months in a fee battle. More prominently, the Food Network and HGTV disappeared from Cablevision’s lineups in New York and New Jersey on Friday after talks broke down with the owner of the channels, Scripps Networks.
The Food Network costs distributors 8 cents a viewer on average now; Scripps wants a roughly 300 percent raise, according to people briefed on the negotiations. That might seem drastic, but 30 other channels, some with lower ratings, already earn that much. “We were really, really undervalued,” said Brooke Johnson, the president of the Food Network.
For ardent fans of “Iron Chef America,” the Food Network is undoubtedly worth 25 cents a month. But that logic, applied to dozens of channels, can become pretty expensive for viewers.
The problem is that what if consumers don’t want to pay for Food Network or Oprah’s Channel or a dozen other crappy channels with nothing to offer. Well, tough shit. Because everything is bundled together you’ve either got to over-pay for channels you don’t watch so you can get the channels you do watch or decide it’s not worth the price and drop cable all together.
When it comes down to it, the price of cable doesn’t justify itself anymore. Not with the ability to watch television through the internet.