Consumers May Be Becoming Immune To Pay TV Threats

It's the end of the year and more pressing media negotiation deadlines loom. Is this becoming an old-school thing?

For the past few seasons, there have been numerous battles among big TV content companies and pay TV distributors, threats over stopping programming, especially viewing the NFL playoffs.

Cable, satellite and telco companies are looking for smallish carriage/retrans increases; TV networks-stations insist they are underpaid.

Recently, Verizon Communications warned its Fios TV customers they may lose access to ESPN and Walt Disney content due to troubling negotiations. Tribune Media has a similar problem with Charter Communication’s Spectrum telling viewers NFL playoff games might not be seen.

More threats: CBS TV stations might not re-up with longtime media-measuring company Nielsen, possibly heading to a closer association with Comscore.



With new digital video OTT/platforms,will all the turmoil head in a new direction? Now we have Walt Disney, WarnerMedia and others looking to start their own platforms.

How much will in-house digital video platforms factor into the total TV distribution competitive picture? Down the road, what becomes of these high-profile, loud, consumer-targeted and marketed "blackouts"?

For AT&T and Comcast Corp., this can be a delicate situation. Both own major pay TV distribution channels -- DirecTV and Comcast Cable, respectively -- and big TV content businesses: Turner, HBO, and WarnerMedia for AT&T; NBCUniversal for Comcast.

Federal regulatory agencies keep a close eye on many content/distribution deals, including those mergers in which regulators allow companies to make their seemingly monopolistic TV/media purchases in the first place.

Consumers get in the crossfire. When hearing advertising from TV stations, networks or pay TV providers, many might be thinking: In this digital media era, aren’t there other options, even free places, to access that NFL playoff game?

Something is changing. Consumers have been blacked out 137 times in 2018 because of stalled negotiations, sharply down from 213 in 2017, according to the American Television Alliance, a pay TV provider lobbying group representing cable, satellite, and telco companies

Consumers may just tune in elsewhere. Or maybe just shrug their shoulders.

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