Before 2010 arrived, many of us were sweating one last problem of 2009: the news that Fox and Time Warner Cable had hit a wall in contract negotiations, meaning that Time Warner would drop all Fox stations from its cable programming lineup.
Well, as the ball dropped over Times Square, ringing in "twenty-ten," I know that I was desperately clicking my remote back to Fox every ten minutes to make sure it was still there. I needn't have worried though; the situation is has been resolved and (obviously) Time Warner is still broadcasting Fox stations.
The percentage of you who responded to this impending threat by saying "It'll never happen," were right on the money. According to Hitflix, a combination of American Idol, college football bowl games and the NFL playoffs provided much of the incentive for the two warring media companies to stop mucking around and work things out - before they both suffered.
I was personally sharpening my tomahawk as New Years approached, ready to cut heads if anybody (or anything) forced me to miss the NFL playoffs. Anyway, here's what Time Warner Cable Inc. Chief Executive Glenn Britt had to say about the issue: "We're happy to have reached a reasonable deal with no disruption in programming for our customers..."
The problem started when Fox (surprise, surprise), demanded that Time Warner pay them $1 per cable subscriber each month for the Fox broadcast signal. The move was designed to help Fox capitalize on the kind of revenue streams that subscriber-based cable stations earn in addition to their advertising dollars. Time Warner was trying to hold the line and not raise monthly rates; both parties launched websites promoting their side of the issue; tough-talk ensued... yadda, yadda, yadda... it's over now.
"Once again, I have come to your rescue..."
No details have yet been released on the nature of the deal that was struck - Time Warner customers, let's keep a careful eye on our bills in the coming months...
The digital age is still trying to shape itself in many ways, and big media corporations are still trying to figure out how best to make a dollar. Expect more bumps along this winding road before it all gets worked out. For now, though: crisis adverted.
Time Warner customers, are you happy that you still have Fox?