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Easy Button: Screw The Fans, Just Let The Market Work Things Out

Iulogo The Indy Star doesn't think lawmakers should bother telling cable companies what to do about the availability of specialty sports networks. Whatever.

"Behind the scenes, TV executives can't be happy that sports leagues now control their own media outlets. If the NFL Network develops into a raging success, then other sports leagues will make similar business moves and exact similar demands.

"Caught in the middle, as usual, is the fan, who simply wants to watch Peyton Manning and company torch the Falcons.

"That's why legislators such as state Rep. Scott Reske are rushing the field. Reske this week said he would introduce a bill in the General Assembly that would force arbitration between cable companies and channels such as the NFL Network.

"Many a fan will cheer that move, but it's hard to defend from a sound economic or public policy perspective."

Perhaps someone should remind the editorial board that watching IU basketball is a fundamental right under the Indiana Constitution. Or, as Blue Indiana points out, that IU and Purdue are state-funded institutions.

Personally, TDW has always backed the concept that subscribers should be able to pick and choose the channels they want to receive. No more bundling Lifetime and Oxygen with networks people actually want to watch. If you truly want a free market system, then don't force the market to bear the burden of stuff it doesn't care about.

Comments

The IndyStar, hmmm. Didn't that used to be a MSM newspaper? Their "opinions" surely don't carry much weight around here these days. Look at their track record from the last election cycle.

Again, this is just another step toward federalization of _everything_! Why not? The government should go in and take over the cable companies, the satellite TV companies, AT&T, and all the broadcast channels. This way everything will be "fair."

In this example, government getting involved is laughable. Face it, News Corp. just wants to screw around long enough to drive enough folks to Direct TV. They likely did not think DISH and AT&T (and some other smaller cable companies) would actually dish out the fees for BTN. That being said, they knew plenty of cable companies would say "NO WAY!" to the sky high fees that it could cause a wave of new customers to Direct TV, aka: News Corp. My guess is that after a few more months of those who idol worship grown men playing kid games dump cable, the fees will magically drop and cable will make the deal.

While I would normally get against government telling private companies what to do (if that is so important, then government shoudl just provide the service itself), considering the cable companies are given government monopolies, they really don't have a reason to gripe.

Allow me to retort: the "public airways" mean anything to you? These companies operate in the public domain and should act in the public interest. Their current climate is essentially a government regulated monopoly. I'm sure they would be opposed to more competition (which is coming by the way).

IU Athletics takes only $250,000 from university general funds to supplement academic support services for athletes. The remaining dollars to pay for the operations of IU Athletics is self generated.

"Allow me to retort: the "public airways" mean anything to you?"

Cable is not an "airway", it's a collection of light pulses in glass cables. Moreover cable is a non-essential service that's not covered (to my knowledge) under any federal or state statute.

But, as someone said above, these companies essentially have government-given monopolies on the market, which to me makes them an extension of that government and subject to some of the same checks and balances.

Whaa?? Big Cable gets exclusive rights for years by government and now cries "No Government is needed" Holy Cow! They have been the ONLY signal allowed into my home for years. Eventually, the market will work but only after AT&T, Verizon etc have there networks developed. In the meantime, the legislative proposal is to name a neutral, third party to resolve the dispute. Why is that scary to the cable industries. BTW, many other cable companies offer these programs.

I have no idea why people who care about the issue haven't jumped over to one of the DBS dish services. I subscribe to Dish Network just as a show of opposition to the monopoly that cable franchises enjoy.

Lance, you're daft. Have you heard of the "Cable Franchise Board?" Check out indygov.org. At the same time you might also peruse federal and state laws including recent legislation. Try the FCC website first. Ugh, TDW, why do I have to deal with this?

Free market? It's great to see Adam Smith alive and well on a Democrat blog.

Does no one remember how cable originally came to Indy in the 80s? With their "Rent A Pol" program, i.e., let prominent local opinion leaders buy into the proposed cable franchise at bargain rates, so as to ensure passage of subsequent enabling legislation?

Regulation my patootie.

Regulation is nothing but an afterthought that assures cash flow.

"Lance, you're daft. Have you heard of the "Cable Franchise Board?" "

No, I haven't - which is why I used the phrase "that I'm aware of". Thanks for correcting me in such a gentle, tactful manner.

"Perhaps someone should remind the editorial board that watching IU basketball is a fundamental right under the Indiana Constitution."

Not really, so here is what is needed quick:

1. Cable sports watching in Indiana shall at minimum consist of basketball games at Indiana University. 2. This constitution or other Indiana law may be construed to require that watching IU or the legal incidents of hardwood be conferred upon analog TV's or groups after February 2009." Quite easy to understand, just as the SJR-7 writers union. They're not on strike.

Whatever the legal rights or right vs. Wrong on legislating this, the bottom line is that this is stupid and short-sighted on the part of the Big Ten. They are screwing over their fans. My dad has been watching IU basketball for 50 years, and will miss half the season this year. He's getting reacquainted with Don Fischer, but Eric Gordon is doing some things that Don can't describe very well. I can't figure out why the universities would want to make it harder for their fans to follow their teams.

Sadly, most Indiana residents don't give a bucket of warm spit about the esoterica of advanced degrees but nevertheless loyally support higher education because of the outstanding sports teams. By making college sports less accessible to the Indiana taxpayers, our world-class universities may be losing a lot of mass "political" support...

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