Sometimes when two giant corporate
entities clash, trying to choose a side is like being asked, "Who
were you rooting for during World War II? Hitler or Mussolini?"
That thought ran through my head last
week when I heard channel 10/WBIR, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville,
and the Dish satellite company were coming to a loggers head over
broadcast fees in this area.
To be completely accurate, it was
WBIR's parent company, Gannett, that was waging the price war with
The way it works, so I understand, is
that when satellite companies, or cable companies, transmit channels,
even so called free ones like WBIR, they pay a percentage per
customer. It doesn't amount to much, usually a few cents per
subscriber. But when you're talking millions of subscribers, the
money can add up.
Usually this stuff happens without the
consumer ever knowing about it. But occasionally the two sides are so
far apart on money that it seeps out. It happened with Dish and the
Fox Network a couple of years ago, but like this one, it was worked
out before the deadline hit.
The problem I had with this is I'm
not really a fan of either entity. I consider WBIR to be extremely
arrogant for a middling product (there's a stumbling, tongue tied
news anchor there that just irks me) and Dish, well, Dish is like any
other corporate behemoth.
For complete disclosure, I am a Dish
customer and have been since Feb. 2005. They've been a pretty
decent company to deal with, only raising prices twice in that nearly
eight year period for a total of $9. For the package we have, anyway.
But we haven't received anything extra for that $9 more a month,
which is why I can't give them a high rating.
But their prices have increased at a
much lower rate than DirecTV, their only satellite competition, and
much, much slower than the cable companies. They have some kind of
value guarantee, stating they will get the best price possible for
That was where the problem started.
Gannett, I assume, was wanting to raise their re-broadcast fees and
Dish balked at what they were asking. Dish can be hard headed about
this. They recently lost several channels, including AMC (Walking
Dead, Mad Men) because they wouldn't raise the rates as much as the
network honchos wanted.
I never had any doubt they would work
it out. Even when WBIR showed their arrogance by stating Dish
customers could switch to DirecTV or any number of cable companies if
you simply couldn't live without wildly incorrect weather forecasts
and news anchors who constantly trip over their words.
WBIR knew most people wouldn't go to
the hassle of switching companies for one channel, especially when
they could watch most (all) of the shows on the Internet. And Dish,
now a long time veteran of this nonsense, probably knew what they
could get and just wanted to put on a good show for their customers
before signing on the dotted line.
But it's not just TV corporations
that are trying to get the last penny out of your bank account. I
read in a recent USA Today that broadband Internet companies (pretty
much all of them now) are wanting to put a limit on how many
gigabytes of data you can use on your connection. Kind of like what
you have on smart phones.
They'd set the cap, so the story
said, at 26 gigabytes a month. If all you do is surf the Internet for
a few minutes a day and check your email, you'll be fine. But if
you watch a lot of videos or play games or use a streaming service
like Netflix, you'll be out data by, oh, the second week of the
It's the cable companies mainly
wanting to do this (imagine that), but apparently ATT tried to roll
it out for a test drive in couple of areas and ticked off consumers
so badly that they backed off.
These companies are looking a new
revenue source as people are dropping landline phones like crazy. As
somebody said in the story, broadband is not finite. It's not
disappearing like oil. This is a money grab, nothing more.
For me, it'd be like if somebody
managed to start charging for air. Plenty of it to go around, but you
only get 15 days for the price you're paying. After that, you'd
better buy the air or you're going to be hurting.
Don't laugh. People once laughed at
the idea of bottled water.
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