I live in Time Warner Cable’s service area in Manhattan and, like millions of other subscribers across the country, I am facing the prospect of an imminent cut off of Fox programming. It is all supposed to be about a contract dispute. Fox wants $1 per subscriber per month from Time Warner Cable for the right to re-transmit its content and Time Warner Cable refuses to pay. We consumers are caught in the middle since Time Warner Cable does not think that each of us is worth spending $12 per year to receive Fox programming.
On the face of it, Time Warner Cable’s monopoly power in its serving areas is allowing it to act against the best interests of its customers. It would be bad enough if this were just a run-of-the-mill commercial dispute that can be reduced to dollars and cents negotiations. But there may be another, more sinister motive contributing to the cable monopoly’s intransigence.
In the current election cycle so far, Time Warner Cable has contributed to 19 Senators, 13 of whom are Democrats and who received collectively twice as much in contributions as did their Republican colleagues.
We all know what Obama and his pals in Congress think of Fox. Puttting some severe economic pressure on the Fox network would suit them just fine.
UPDATE: Time Warner Cable and Fox reached a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed. With Time Warner Cable and the Obama administration in the same anti-Fox camp, Fox’s ox was undoubtedly gored.