When Media Conglomerates Fight, Consumers Always Lose

Written by PTC | Published January 25, 2017

cablechoice1 Verizon FiOS customers in central New York planning to watch this year’s Super Bowl had better make other plans. Because of a carriage dispute between the Telecom company and the owner of Fox Syracuse, Verizon FiOS subscribers in the area have not been able to view Fox programming for at least three weeks, and there is no indication of the dispute being resolved any time soon – or in time for the February 5th Super Bowl, which Fox is televising this year. Disputes like this often arise between cable operators and content providers, usually as a direct result of the cable industry’s bundling scheme. If a cable provider wants to offer CBS, for example, the parent company, Viacom, can come back to the cable operator and tell them they can’t air CBS unless they also agree to air a dozen other Viacom properties. That translates to higher costs for the cable operator and those higher costs get passed on to the consumer. In every carriage dispute, consumers end up losing; either by missing out on programming they want to watch, or by getting stuck with higher bills. Local news sources report that this is the second time in two years that Fox Syracuse has been pulled from FiOS. The dispute, according to FiOS is over a 93% increase in fees. For consumers who are frustrated by these blackouts every time a content provider and cable system fail to come to terms, there is an alternative. Cut the cord. Fox programming can be accessed via digital antenna – and by becoming one of the growing number of cord-cutters, you are sending a powerful message to the cable companies that they need to drop the bundling regime and give consumers choice.

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