The battle going on between Fox and Cablevision in--GASP!--the world's largest media market, New York, hasn't done much to polish the image of either party. It reminds me of a really messy celebrity divorce with charges and counter charges being tossed back and forth and more squeals of "He/She done me wrong!" than even the National Enquirer could hope for.
And there appears to be no end in sight with no new talks set to go until Wednesday and the rhetoric is heating up. Fox took out full-page ads in The New York Post lambasting Cablevision. In return, Cablevision went a little more uptown and grabbed a full page in The New York Times. (Apparently, in their emotional states, neither realized no one's reading newspapers anymore, perhaps they should have advertised with Fierce.)
Cablevision subs in New York will miss Game 3 today of the National League Championship series between San Francisco and Philadelphia and--here's where everything gets really dicey--Glee! fans will be left without an outlet for their perky little personalities. And that's a mistake that could really start the vitriol flowing.
Now, ready for the scariest part? Some politicians are calling on the FCC to step in and mediate. What? Are they hoping the dispute lasts until after the Super Bowl?
And you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see the potential fallout from this one.
Variety reports that as of Monday, antenna sales in the New York metro area had picked up, sports bars were overflowing and, no surprise here, cable subscriptions were being cancelled. Just one more nail in that coffin.
You can say all you want about cord cutting being a myth or not, but if there's anything that's going to make a customer say, "What the hell am I paying $100 a month for when I can get it online?" this is it.
In an interesting turn, ivi TV, the little web-based operator, is offering to referee the battle between the two Goliaths.
"Let the big media companies brawl. In the meantime, New York consumers can remain unaffected and watch their favorite NY football team on ivi TV," it said. "That's a battle consumers are actually interested in watching, not this spectacle over millions of dollars being fought over between cable companies and TV networks."
Of course, there are other options in New York: Verizon's FiOS TV service, for example, may be seeing a heyday as a result of the tiff between the two media companies. Although a Verizon spokesman wouldn't get into specifics, he did tell Variety that the company was busily signing up new subscribers. "We were busy over the weekend, we were busy today, and we're expecting a busy week ahead of us." -Jim