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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 08, 2012

More Cable Viewers May Be Selling their Hair to a Wig Shop or Having a Grandson with a Dog Collar in the Near Future

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

The FCC (News - Alert) doesn’t care if cable viewers wind up in a roadside ditch, attend their own funeral “as a guy named Phil Schiffley,” sell their hair to a wig shop, or have a grandson with a dog collar. Despite the many warning DirecTV (News - Alert) has given for what happens to people who are less-than-satisfied with their cable provider, the FCC has let a sharing requirement, put in place twenty years ago, expire, meaning that the providers will no longer be required to share networks.

Since the requirement was put in place, cable providers have had to provide reasonable terms when they sell channels to satellite broadcasters. Now, these broadcasters will be required to file individual complaints with the FCC if they feel that they are not being provided with fair terms. Among those unhappy with the ruling are: Dish Network, DirecTV, Verizon Communications, AT&T, and Google (News - Alert). They will still be required to share regional sports networks, but beyond that, there is no protection for broadcasters or for viewers, who will, inevitably, be adversely affected by this decision.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Despite the broadcasters who find this ruling unfair, the FCC maintained in its unanimous ruling that such an agreement is no longer necessary. Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner, asserted that “The market has changed, and our rules must follow.” One decade ago, 35 percent of programming networks were affiliated with cable companies; whereas, today, only 14 percent of programming networks are affiliated with cable companies.

Consumers have become all-too-familiar with pricing wars between broadcasters and television stations in recent years. This news promises consumers an ongoing headache.

The FCC has clearly not heeded DirecTV’s warnings about what happens to people who are unhappy with their cable provider. When the market changes, the FCC changes its rules. When the FCC changes its rules, broadcasters become unhappy. When broadcasters become unhappy, viewers start losing their favorite shows. After that, it’s just a matter of time before the inevitable chain of events that leads to having one’s house explode or reenacting scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen is set in motion.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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