Network affiliates and station groups, looking for relief from growing retransmission disputes, have formed TVfreedom.org for some industry bonding. A statement from the new group said its efforts will include telling the truth about record profits TV providers have made over the last few years. In particular, it singled out three out-of-line TV providers: Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, and DirecTV. TVfreedom says it will look to reveal those fees passed on to consumers that they shouldn’t be paying -- especially for low-rated cable networks.
Varietyreports that other TV and cable industry groups spend heavily to get their message out. Some of the biggest: National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., $19.9 million on lobbying in 2013; the National Assn. of Broadcasters, $14.5 million.
This means more information overload -- real or otherwise -- for consumers and the press to sift through.
One might expect the group to single out not only specific networks and their mediocre rating performances, but to talk about leverage of big cable TV companies with other media platforms. The trouble here, of course, is that the broadcast networks, also have a conflict: they all have cable networks that are also sold/packaged to TV providers.
When it comes to consumers taking sides -- with TV networks/station or TV providers -- the result can be muddy initially, with consumers blaming both parties.
But the real, more quiet result seems to come down hard on TV providers. Does anyone think those 300,000-plus cable customers suddenly left the likes of Time Warner Cable last August, in its battle with CBS, because of a better deal from say alternative players such as Aereo/Netflix/Hulu Plus?Negative brand perceptions of some TV providers will continue. But you can be sure that consumers will never be in “lean-back” mode again when it comes time to figure out their most efficient entertainment financial scenarios.