With carriage battles between TV stations/networks and cable/satellite distributors becoming more vicious, viewers are being called upon to help save their favorite stations/networks.
In the abstract that seems fine. However, after CBS enlisted their viewers help against DISH, they then negotiated a partial neutering of Dish’s Hopper feature. Hopper allows viewers who record shows to skip the commercials.
From the NY Times December 6: ”As part of the agreement, people will not be able to skip commercials with the Hopper service for CBS-owned network stations and affiliates for the first seven days after a program is televised. Television networks have been pushing advertisers to buy commercial time based on ratings from that seven-day period.”
Would viewers have supported CBS had they known this is how their support would be used? Did CBS have an obligation to tell the viewers this was their agenda?
Fox is currently in a similar dispute with DISH. During this weekend’s NFL playoffs I watched Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly asking for support for Fox News Channel, accusing DISH of “censoring” FNC.
My (rhetorical) question to them is, are you too asking your viewers to help you achieve something that’s not in those viewers best interests? Will your viewers support cost those same viewers cash, convenience or access to technology?
Is censorship really the sticking point in this business dispute?