TV Blackouts: Cord-Cutting, Propaganda, And Future Media Agnosticism

CBS has been issuing warningsthat another major TV blackout could happen -- this time with a possible Nov. 20 deadline for Dish Network.

Last year CBS had a major month-long blackout with Time Warner Cable.

Now this isn’t about bashing any network or pay TV provider in particular. Many other TV networks groups -- big and small -- have been in the middle of negotiation disputes. Currently, Dish Network is in a carriage negotiation stalemate with some Turner Broadcasting networks, including CNN.

So what’s new here? Not much. TV consumers are getting used to this drill -- for better or worse. Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish Network, even suggested that perhaps Dish might not want any of those Turner networks back. But what about CBS? He didn’t mention this big broadcaster network.

One thing’s for sure: TV blackout fatigue must be at an all-time high. Is this spillage factor part of the deal consumers now sign up for?



TV network and pay TV providers can be dire enemies one minute, and friends the next. “Frenemies” don’t seem to describe these relationships.

Media fractionalization for many could mean shifting to other networks on a particular pay TV service --  or just shrugging one’s shoulders. Factor this in: Pay TV options -- including new cloud-based TV services (one from Dish Network, no less) -- are growing.

Cord-cutting and cord-shaving is a factor here -- the results of these battles-- as well as pricing considerations.

Wall Street investors would argue that -- in the long run -- you need big time content creators. There will always be another new technology, new distribution system.

And in the short term, you have virtually no traditional TV executives ready to toss out the current system. Bob Iger, chairman/chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co. has already been on the record with this. At the same time, content creators would say they want to be on every distribution platform, and on every consumer device, possible.

We have talked about the fractionalization of media, which means media content. When will true fractionalization of media distribution fully take effect -- and the threat of possible TV network/station blackouts mean few TV business headlines?

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