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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 27, 2010

Cablevision and News Corp. Row Making Subscribers Suffer

By Rahul Arora, TMCnet Contributor

It seems that New York and Philadelphia area subscribers are in crossfire thanks to the bitter spat between Cablevision and News Corp (News - Alert) over retransmission fees. The dispute has been going around for almost a week and has already deprived many viewers of watching sporting and many other important events going on.

The Fox programming has completely been blacked out which means that Cablevision customers will need to make other arrangements if they hope to watch the World Series. Strategy Analytics (News - Alert) has come up with a new report that clearly suggests that the current spat might drive some to question if they need pay TV in the first place.

According to a survey fielded by Strategy Analytics in the third quarter of 2010, 13 percent of Americans intend to drop their Pay TV subscription and not sign up with another provider in the coming 12 months. Almost 47 percent of Americans feel that Pay TV is not of a good value for money. Report also suggests that average US household regularly watches only a few out of nearly 120 channels it receives. When asked to rank their five "must have" channels, Pay TV consumers put the "free networks" (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX) in the top four slots.

“While in the past many have quickly dismissed cord cutting as hype, pay TV operators need to begin taking this phenomenon seriously,” said Ben Piper, research director and author of the report, in a statement. “The fact that four out of the top five ‘must have’ channels ranked by pay TV consumers are free anyway must not be ignored. What kind of value is pay TV offering these subscribers?”

The Insight, “Big Media Brinkmanship: Will Fox and Cablevision Drive More to Cut the Cord,” clearly elaborates on the Strategy Analytics’ recently-fielded survey of 2,000 Americans. It assesses the cord cutting intentions of US pay TV subscribers by service provider, and analyzes the potential reemergence of a la carte content bundling.

Rahul Arora is a TMCnet contributor. He has worked as an editor and freelance writer for several reputed organizations in India. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny