When it comes to content, there's no free TV

There is an elephant in the room as everyone boasts of bypassing cable (or satellite or telco) and getting "free TV" via the Internet. That elephant is money.

Everyone likes to be paid for his or her work and content producers are no different. When it comes to paying out, the Hollywood Reporter says that "cable is still king." The influx of cable bucks let media businesses like Time Warner, Viacom and Disney--the same Disney that also owns and controls ABC--weather the recession better than non-cable media.

That might or might not serve as a warning shot for someone like Brian Franco, of East Rochester, N.Y., who, in a story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle said he canceled his cable television in favor of computer-based viewing. For the time being, at least, Connecticut-based phone company Frontier Communications is an enabler of that sort of model with its fitv Web site offering up free and paid programming in competition with Time Warner Cable.

"People don't want to pay exorbitant rates for their TV service," a Frontier spokeswoman said. "That's what happens with cable TV." Sometimes, though, as evidenced by the Hollywood Reporter story, it's not up to people.

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