Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

It's Summer Rerun Time! As Time Warner Cable and Disney Face Off, a Refresher Course On Cord Cutting

The newest battle between a cable company and a TV network is so boring, and so repetitive, that it doesn’t even merit a new lede. So I’m going to just reuse the one I wrote in March. Simply substitute “Time Warner Cable” for Cablevision in the first sentence, and you’re all good:

Why does this week’s Disney-Cablevision fight feel familiar? Because it is: “Cable Fee Fight” is TV’s most annoying show, but it never goes off the air.

The characters change, but the script is always the same. A programmer wants more money from a cable provider and threatens to pull its shows. See: Viacom (VIA) versus Time Warner Cable (TWC), News Corp. (NWS) versus Time Warner Cable, Cablevision versus Scripps Networks (SNI), etc., etc.

Spoiler Alert! The conclusion is always the same too: Both sides compromise, and cable subscribers get to watch their shows–in exchange for paying ever-increasing fees.

If you’re really craving some variation, be patient: At some point this year, it’s likely that one or more of the networks–Fox is a good bet here–will start a similar brawl with local broadcast station owners. But we can come back to that later.

Meantime, since Time Warner Cable has resurrected its “Roll Over, Get Tough” spin site, this seems like a good time to remind you how to watch TV on the Web, without using cable at all.

Time Warner has yet to bring back this video and brochure on its own site–perhaps it thinks encouraging customers to learn to live without its service is a bad idea–but if you want a refresher course, happy to oblige:



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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik