Sunday, January 8, 2012

Who matters now?

Print Friendly and PDF For the past week or so the Madison Square Garden network (MSG) and its affiliated channels has been taken of of our Time Warner cable system. As far as TV-watching goes, the presence or absence of MSG means little to me. I used to watch MSG back in the days when they carried major league baseball, but even then I was not a major watcher. MSG has been just one of the many channels that takes up space in order to separate the more relevant channels that I do watch.
As I read in the media, the main reason MSG is gone is a failure to negotiate a new contract with Time Warner. MSG wants more money, and TW says no. Simple, understandable. Except for one big item: MSG has been, and wants to be, paid on a per-subscriber basis. As a subscriber, some of my money goes to MSG. If I drop TW, then none of it goes to MSG, since I would not be a subscriber. I am not given any choice regarding MSG. My choice is TW or no TW. It seems almost like a tax: stay in the country and pay its taxes, move out and don't pay. In essence, the money TW gets from me that it uses, (or used) to pay MSG is actually a taxation without representation. Nobody is negotiating as my representative.

I know this can be seen as a stretch, but stop to consider how much money is funneled to pro sports and pro sports businesses via the media. Pro sports would not exist the way it is today if it had to depend on ticket-paying customers. I plan to soon try to identify how much of my cable bill goes to support sports channels. The YES network I am willing to support, as I am the Golf Channel. But I do not expect non-Yankee fans nor non-golfers to support my watching habits. Expecting others to underwrite my lifestyle amounts to a form of welfare-dependency.

This issue needs to be addressed. Hiding them in cable bills is deceptive at best. More later...

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