Misleading Media Company Ads?

Verizon Communications has complained that three cable companies --Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable-- have rejected its ads, a move which Verizon says keeps cable consumers in the dark concerning alternative TV providers.

Cable companies say Verizon ads are misleading. The Verizon spots complain that cable rates have risen 86 percent since 1995 because cable has a monopoly. The ad does not criticize satellite providers like DirecTV and EchoStar's DISH Network--which, of course, doesn't make things any easier for the MSOS.

Verizon may be a little too blunt in its messaging, when we all know the touchy cable industry needs massaging. Verizon may come off with a bit too much pre-1970 telephone company swagger.

Verizon is looking for New Jersey's approval that would grant the telco a statewide video franchise--which would help Verizon's nascent FiOS TV video service. But Verizon may be jumping the gun in believing that all municipalities will quickly reverse over 40 years of cable state franchise business just because of the obvious need for competition.



They should understand more than most. While Verizon calls cable a monopoly, the phone companies before the late 70s were a monopoly for decades--the original communications cartel.

Who knows, perhaps, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable will buy a 15-second spot on a mobile network criticizing Verizon for selling phones with screens that are too small? Hope Verizon doesn't reject those ads.

So a little politicking is going on. Perhaps Verizon should try again and just sell its new-fangled IPTV service straight up and see what happens. Verizon can always buy broadcast or cable network time, national or local broadcast spot. We're sure local TV stations would like taking the money--and the critical cable message it contains.

Most of all, Verizon shouldn't be pressing the issue to viewers why cable is bad, while using cable's marketing tools that hypocritically tell advertisers why cable is good.

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