your £$ support needed

part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

this is what I’m paying $126+ per month for

This is what I see when I tune to channel 7 on my expensive Cablevision cable TV service:

Fuck Cablevision. Fuck ABC. (Oh, and can I just note that ABC and Disney — which told me it didn’t like my “tone” when I complained about how it treats film critics — are the same company?)

In 2008 (the last year for which figures seem to be available), Disney chief Bob Iger — the one who made the decision that three million people in the NYC area should not be able to see ABC — earned $30.6 million. That same year, top Cablevision honchos raked in dough (via Long Island Business News):

A quartet of Cablevision executives took the top four slots [among Long Island’s highest paid execs]. Cablevision chief executive James Dolan topped the list with $13.9 million in compensation, followed by Chairman Charles Dolan at $13.4 million, Chief Operating Officer Thomas Rutledge at $11.7 million and Vice Chairman Hank Ratner at $11.5 million.

These are the people who are treating mere customers like crap.

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  • Mark

    Well, the good news is that your bill should be prorated and any cost that went to ABC before will be deducted from your total bill.

    Also, you can still get ABC over-the-air. Its pretty easy to hook up. The reason you’re paying 126 bucks a month is because all the stations are pulling these same stunts. ESPN alone gets 5 bucks a month out of your cable bill. I’m glad Cablevision isn’t giving into ABC…we can get their shows free already, we shouldn’t have to pay them for it.

  • Remy Michael

    Someone, somewhere in these companies needs to poke their head up out of the sand, look at what’s going on in the world and realize that the same thing that happened to the record companies and print news is soon going to happen to them in an overwhelming manner.

    Cable (and satellite for that matter) is drawing dangerously close to extinction. The old revenue models don’t work all that well, and the thing that will tip them over is abhorrent customer service. If they don’t fix their system, the world will move on without them. Already it is incredibly easy to download commercial-free (and HD) versions of the programming that ABC is withholding.

    Low-cost productions broadcasting on sites like YouTube often connect on a more personal level with their audience, and downloadable content has solved some of the issues of the old revenue model. Without some creative thinking, and some excellent people skills, these companies might as well be selling horse whips.

    But that’s just my take on it.

  • Am I not the only one thinking we all (and by all I mean 300 million Americans) need to drop our cable subscriptions and turn off our TVs?

    1) it will save money we need to buy things like food, health insurance, mortgages, etc. Oh, and cut back on our electric bills.

    2) it will tell both the cable companies and the networks that we don’t need them, but that they need us.

    3) it’s cheaper than hiring lawyers to file a class action suit against both parties for being greedy BLEEPING bastards.

    4) we can all wait for the DVDs of our shows. It’s more fun what with all the extras and commentaries and whatnot.

  • Ken

    Back in 1994, someone described the negotiations between the Major League Baseball Players Association and the owners as “millionaires fighting with billionaires.” I guess this tops it as billionaires fight with billionaires.

  • MaryAnn

    Well, the good news is that your bill should be prorated and any cost that went to ABC before will be deducted from your total bill.

    Nope. I spent an hour and 15 minutes on the phone with Cablevision this morning, escalating up to four higher-up customer service people, and they all insisted that no credits would be given. Even when I threatened to cancel my service.

    Also, you can still get ABC over-the-air. Its pretty easy to hook up

    Yeah, if I can find an HD antenna today, when every other Cablevision customer in the area will have the same idea. And then I have to spend the money to buy the antenna, when part of what I pay Cablevision for is so that I do not have to use an antenna.

  • Tully

    This whole Cablevision vs. ABC quarrel is total bullshit, but for those of you who are advising to turn off the TV and wait for the DVDs, there won’t be any shows on DVD if enough people stop watching. It’s largely the fault of the content providers failing to anticipate the rapid onset of broadband viewing patterns; if they’d listened to Wired and other tech analysts, they’d have been prepared for this era. Instead, they ‘stayed the course’, hoping this day would never come; they’re a lot like the Big 3 with their over-reliance on trucks and SUVs. Those of us who got on broadband early knew this day would eventually come, just like Napster would eventually be replaced by a pay model like iTunes. Get it while you can kids, because you’re going to be paying for Hulu (as it is, current shows are offered on a pay-per-view basis on iTunes and On Demand). If you don’t like it, I suggest a library on that day, because the free lunch model is going out the window sooner than later.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    If each of those 5 executives made only _half_ of what they made now, You could give over 800 people $50K/year jobs. Bring that number over 1100 if none of them made more than $5 million a year.

    And yet it’s the anti-tax nuts with the torches and pitchforks?

  • Ryan H

    for those of you who are advising to turn off the TV and wait for the DVDs, there won’t be any shows on DVD if enough people stop watching

    Sure there will be. It might take a couple years for the new market to shake out but it will be there. It would likely grow out of the direct-to-DVD market at first, both from the film side and the the niche programming side (think Stargate direct to DVD movies).

    There would also be a subset of current shows that would survive through a jump to the iTunes/online market. Lots wouldn’t and there would be lower budgets for a while but some would make it.

    As an example, Japan currently supports a huge market of direct-to-DVD miniseries (OVAs). BBC style mini-seasons would be another example of a format that would transition very well.

    So there would be a drop in content for a while and would likely be the better part of a decade before we started seeing ambitious projects like Lost again but content would continue.

  • Mo

    Hm… that looks like the same battle that’s happening right now in Canada between CTV and Global (our two big private networks) and the cable companies. They haven’t gotten to the yanking the signal point yet though. Instead both sides are taking their annoying “my way is more fair” propaganda to the viewers…who aren’t going to pick a side if they’re both being that idiotic but of course they don’t ‘get’ that.

    So no ABC, no chance for BBC America, and that much a month. Surely New York City must have more than on decent cable provider?

  • Mo

    Okay, just read the previous post- so there is no other provider in the Bronx. Wow, there’s one NYC illusion busted.

    As for DVDs, I think if they (cable and networks) all went belly-up, web shows like “The Guild” are on DVD and would probably suddenly find themselves with a lot more sponsors… It wouldn’t be the creative apocalypse they want you to think would be, anyway. All of gen Y was raised to create- just look at what’s happening in the music scene now that it has crashed and burned.

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