By Daniel Frankel
As we sit around the Thanksgiving table with family, friends and hangers-on, funny stories are inevitably told.
That joy ride your cousin Tracy took that destroyed your aunt's '79 Grand Prix; that catapult your older brother Andy built that nearly got your parents sued by the neighbors; that time your wife decided not to pay her traffic tickets before moving to Africa, and how she got thrown in jail when she came home.
Sure, these events were traumatic at the time, but distilled to the grist of time's mill, they're now the source of mealtime laughter, any remaining edge ground off by all the wine and L-tryptophan. They also serve as object lessons to our kids--specific things to avoid doing if you don't want to, say, spend Thanksgiving 1998 locked in the Van Nuys women's jail watching Lifetime Channel next to a scary lady named "Loca Jimmie."
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We see the biggest strategic blunders in pay-TV this year the same way--not as a chance to pick on the operators in arena, gallantly living with their decisions, good and bad, as they cope with the fastest changing marketplace the video entertainment industry has ever seen.
But to analyze their mistakes for the good; to decipher where these initiatives and systems went bad, and how similar trouble can be avoided in the future.
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And--ah, who are we kidding? We also want to indulge in a bit of natural schadenfreude, and have a little laugh with our pumpkin pie. So, without further adieu, here are the biggest pay-TV turkeys of 2014.