It has all the makings of a drama that no one could possibly care about: a giant corporation looking to make even more money than it already does; an even bigger corporation looking to stand firm and not be bullied into making any decision against its will; helpless consumers with no one to turn to, no altar to pray at; and the Internet. If you’re a Time Warner subscriber you may loose all Fox-owned stations on Friday if certain conditions aren’t meant, namely that Time Warner send Fox (News Corp.) several large sacks of money.
So the story is that Fox, hurting because ad dollars have collapsed for whatever reason, wants to bilk Time Warner for $1 per subscriber for the right, nay, the privilege to carry its stations. These stations include your local Fox affiliate, My Network TV, FX, and all those Fox Sports channels. If Time Warner refuses to pay, and there’s no indication that it will, Fox will yank those channels off all Time Warner cable systems. The biggest markets this would affect include New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
Just think: a world (well, a few television markets) without American Idol, WWE Smackdown, and the Fox Soccer Report. Oh, and no National Football League—that’s the sport with the funny shaped “ball,” right? Soccer > Rugby > NFL. Fact.
Chaos! Fire in the streets! Cats chasing dogs! Et cetera!
The reason for this pointless game of brinkmanship between the two corporations is that Fox (and the rest of the TV networks for that matter) is hurting for money, primarily because TV ad rates have hit rock bottom. Advertisers will claim that TV networks today don’t have the same reach that they once did, be that because of people skipping commercials with their DVR, people using Hulu (and its slightly less legal cousins) rather than plopping in front of the idiot box (when was the last time the term “idiot box” was used, by the way?), or people just giving up on the medium altogether. (For me, like many of you I’d imagine, TV is only useful for live sporting events, and even that may not last long what with live streams and whatnot.)
Apparently Fox has been running crawls along the bottom of its programming saying, “If you want to keep this channel, go bitch at Time Warner,” not saying that Fox is demanding more money for, let’s face it, the same low rent nonsense they’ve been feeding America for many, many years now, the TV show “24” notwithstanding. That show is great; I download it every week.