It's come to the point where Cablevision launched an anti-trust suit against Viacom, accusing it of forcing the cable MSO to carry (and pay for) less popular Viacom cable networks in order to get MTV and Nickelodeon.
"Without the 'take it or leave it' requirements of bundled programming packages at a wholesale level, cable companies could tailor smaller and lower-priced packages that could offer flexibility and have great appeal to specific interests and audiences," said Charlie Schueler, spokesman for Cablevision.Other multichannel providers are experimenting with partial unbundling. Verizon's offering a basic mini-bundle that drops expensive sports channels and knocks $15 off monthly fees. Mediacomm has been advocating a hybrid model with the most expensive channels offered a la carte on top of a basic bundle.
And now the broadcast networks are talking about wanting to get big license fees from multichannel distributors, either directly or indirectly, by grabbing a big share of increased retransmission consent fees for affiliates. Some of the amounts I've been hearing are unreasonably and exorbitantly high - but between what the broadcast nets are talking, and sports channels passing through sky-rocketing coverage rights fees, coming jumps could be as high as $25-$50 a month, as they can't afford not to have high-demand content in an increasingly competitive environment. Thus, cable needs to try to put the blame for big rates increases elsewhere.
Here's some other recent headlines and highlights.
- Cable One is going public with what it says is AMC's demand for a 520% increase in license fees. AMC has seen significant gains in viewing due to a number of successful original series.
Cable One claims AMC is demanding 520% increase in license fees, FierceCable
- Dish Network gets $4.86 million jury award from ESPN, after alleging it wasn't getting the "best licensing rates" its contract provided. That's about 3% of the damages Dish claimed. Don't expect anybody's rates to go down.
Jury orders ESPN to pay Dish Network $4.86 million, FierceCable
- In 2012, Mediacom Broadband average video subscription revenues up 12%, subscribers down 7%. Mediacom LLC saw average video sub revenues up 10%, subscribers down 7%.
Mediacom Broadband increases average video subscriber revenue by $14 in 2012, FierceCable