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Re: [FiOS] Verizon (thus, Frontier?) dropping two channels
said by wesm:That probably went into it a little. There is what the content owners demand at the front, and what they end up compromising to at the table. The deal with NCTC is very good for TC, but NCTC is just a menu of off the shelf prices that providers can select from. Operators don't have to purchase the rights through that deal. Verizon was large enough to negotiate roughly the same compromise as the other majors had. Pull it down from top tier into middle tier, a better price, with some agreement that it would be brought into basic in the future under some undisclosed conditions. That deal was probably not even offered to operators with less leverage, and they are stuck with the crappy NCTC deal or nothing.
Regarding the Tennis channel, it looks like Comcast requires that subscribers buy the "sports entertainment package" to get several not-premium-but-not-standard channels, including NFL Red Zone and Tennis Channel. A quick spot check shows that Time Warner Cable requires the same thing. That appears to violate media reports that Tennis Channel specifically required that it not be in such a package, but there you go.
My suspicion is that Verizon chose to eat the increased programming cost as a marketing advantage against Cablevision. CV doesn't carry the Tennis Channel and Verizon appears to be competing most heavily in the New York/New Jersey area (see their astounding pricing that is available only in NYC). Most of Verizon's ads against CV consist of "look at what channel we kept when Cablevision dropped it."
Transparency Disclosure and Disclaimer: I am a Frontier employee posting in my own personal capacity. The opinions and positions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Frontier.
I wonder if Tennis Channel negotiated the crappy deal with NCTC so that it could do "sweetheart" deals with the cable companies it wanted to mess with. (If it did, why not just bail on negotiating with NCTC?) It's telling that Comcast--not known for just rolling over on price increases; it hurts their bottom line--and Time Warner are both still putting it in a "sports" package. Maybe their contracts have not yet expired.
It looks like Tennis Channel is trying to pull an MLB Network but without the huge quantity of content MLB has through Extra Innings.
My point about Comcast is this: Comcast has relatively few markets where it has to compete with a "strong" competitor like Verizon or UVerse. I'm not bashing Frontier--I like Frontier better than Verizon in many ways--but 100,000 FiOS video customers (that keeps dropping every time quarterly reports are released, though I hope to see this reverse now that Frontier is actively advertising TV again) is not something that Comcast will fear. Ergo, if Tennis Channel wants to be available in those markets, they have to take Comcast's requirement of being sold separately. While Comcast can raise rates pretty much as high as it wants, people can quit and it looks bad in the few competitive markets Comcast serves.