Skip to comments.Senator goes after NFL - Specter argues DirectTV's Sunday Ticket rights unfair
Posted on 12/07/2006 6:07:31 PM PST by MikefromOhio
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Well by that "logic" then I'm paying for MNF games on ESPN because I pay for the cable package that includes ESPN, heck by that "logic" I already pay for ALL games because even my nominally broadcast networks come to me via the cable company. So obviously that "logic" doesn't apply, so let's stick to what you actually said, you said that they make you pay to watch, they don't, you're wrong.
I just switched from cable to DTV and get NFL network in my programming package. (Why do I now feel compelled to brag about the size of my package?)
How can he possibly be wasting the Congress's time, money and energy on this insignificant problem when the need to lower ATM fees is much more pressing?
The NFL Package is included in your basic cable bill? It is not an add-on like HBO? If I want the NFL Network I have to pay an extra premium...if it were available to me. So, yes..that is paying for it.
NFLN is included in the Sports and Entertainment tier of my digital cable, which I signed up for when I first got digital cable before NFLN even existed, when they added NFLN I got it along with ESPNews and ESPNC and the other stuff in that section of the dial. Now maybe your cable company is one of the ones pissed at the NFL for how they're handling NFLN and made it an HBO style subscription channel, but that's your cable company charging you for it not the NFL.
The NFL is trying hard to get their network down in basic cable along with ESPN, they don't want it to be a subscription channel, they don't even want it in the extended digital channels, they want it down in the bottom end where even the cheapest cable subscriber can get it. That's one of the reasons they have games on the network now, they're trying to get subscribers to pressure their cable companies into moving the network further out into the open.
Right--NFLN is available on the lowest-tier packages on satellite right now, but NFLN is in a big fight with some cable companies over carriage.
Here's how cable/satellite programming works. Some cable channels (think ESPN) are enormously popular--pretty much the reason that most people have cable/satellite. When there is a cable channel like that, the cable channel pretty much defines the rules about how it will be carried on the network (and on what channel--for instance, in the days before digital cable, it was advantageous to be on a lower channel because the picture quality was better. This is why ESPN is channel 2--the lowest channel--on a lot of cable packages). The cable channels also charge the cable companies are certain price for the right to carry the channel; last I heard, ESPN charged cable companies around $2.50 per subscriber; the cable company must pay that fee every month.
Other channels, however, are less popular (think History International) and these channels have contract terms dictated by the cable companies. In order to get on the air, the channels must pay the cable companies a monthly fee per subscriber. Bad deal for the channels who are on the outside looking in.
NFLN doesn't want to pay the cable companies to be carried and it doesn't want to be carried on the "sports tier" with channels like Golf Network or CSTV or ESPNU. DirecTV and Dish have agreed to NFLN's demands and are carrying it on the lower tier channel packages, though TimeWarner and Comcast, notably, have refused to carry it unless it is on the Sports Tier.
Both sides have dug in pretty deep and are publishing propaganda. NFL's anti-TimeWarner website is www.iwantnflnetwork.com while TimeWarner holes up at www.nflgetreal.com.
Interestingly, I recently moved to a place where I can't get satellite. I subscribed to Adelphia, the local cable carrier. Adelphia was bought by TimeWarner and my cable package remained exactly the same, except that NFLN was dropped from my HD channels. Oddly, though TimeWarner's primary reason for not carrying the NFL network is to "save subscribers money," my rates didn't go down one penny when NFLN was dropped from my channel lineup. Funny how that worked...
NFL Network is as of December 2006 embroiled in a dispute with several cable companies, including the U.S.'s second-largest cable provider, Time Warner Cable, over carriage. NFL Network insists it be placed on basic service and wish to charge the cable companies a monthly rate of $0.70 per subscriber during the NFL season, while the cable providers wish to place it on a sports tier so as to avoid passing the cost onto those subscribers who do not wish to receive it.  NFL Network's position is that Time Warner's demands are unreasonable and many other providers place NFL Network on a basic tier without subscriber backlashes.
Maybe the NFL can find a loophole in Scottish law and defend itself against this silly situation.
Don't forget the packaging. A lot of channels like History International are pushed by offering deals on related (ie owned by the same people) more popular channels. The Mouse is the king of this, if the cable company wants ESPN, ESPN2 and the primary Disney Channel they'll find getting them all is cheaper if they also pick up things like ESPN Classic and ABC Family. This is one of the reasons ala carte cable channel purchasing is never going to happen, given the way cable providors are pushed to purchase packages of channels it makes better sense for them to also sell in packages.
Pay TV is really a hideously over complicated world, and a lot of fun to study.
The dispute has been going on a while, it's one of the reasons the NFL decided to put the 5th package on NFLN, they want the leverage to use against Time Warner and Comcast. It's a pretty entertaining pissing contest. ESPN was in a big fight with the cable companies a couple of years ago, which they basically won thanks to getting MNF moved to them, none of the cable companies were bold enough to cut people off from the most popular sports program in the country (and now the most popular cable program in history).
I wish he would help get the YES network on DISH network so I can watch the Yankee games.
He must be in the pockets of Comcast
Indeed. Incidentally, I've read that NFLN is demanding $.70 per subscriber.
I don't know whether or not that is true, but it IS a fairly steep asking price for what amounts to a brand new network with very little content other than 8 football games a year.
I agree that the world of pay TV is an interesting beast.
Future Supreme Court justice?
That seems to be the standard charge the stories are saying. Which is a HUGE price for such a fledgling network. But this is the NFL, they didn't get where they are by selling themselves cheap. I think one of the problem they're running into though is that all the cable companies just recently lost a big fight with ESPN and they're a little tired of getting jacked by sports, of course that fight also proved they can get jacked by sports which is probably why NFLN is running such a hard press on them.
They are all complaining in the State of Washington because tonight's game is on the NFL network...and the local station. But not being broadcast to eastern Washington.
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