This weekend, Dish Network customers found themselves without CBS-owned stations for about 12 hours, as contract negotiations broke down, resulting in a channel blackout. As customer frustrations boil over, one can’t help but ask what was really accomplished by pulling a popular television station off the air for millions of customers. These blackouts give TV networks added leverage in their negotiations with pay TV providers, but at what cost? They accomplish this by severely upsetting customers to the point where they may ditch an uncooperative cable provider (like Dish in this case) for one that still has the channel they want to watch. While this has proved time and time again to be an effective strategy for the networks, it puts the mutual customers of the two companies at the biggest disadvantage, dragging them into the crossfire of a fight that they have no say or control in.
The networks aren’t the ones to blame though. The cable TV business model is what’s wrong. The cable companies of today are not much different than the middle men who delivered exotic goods from the far east to wealthy Europeans. Their livelihood depended on heavy markups to items that they had no hand in producing, but merely made accessible to people who otherwise had no means to get them. As is the case today, those high costs drove people to extreme measures. Perhaps the most famous example is Christopher Columbus’ journey resulting in the discovery of the new world. As we all know, Columbus wasn’t looking for America, but rather a sea route to India and China.
Just as back then, history will repeat itself. People today will find away to get the content they want without paying the high costs necessary to support both the middlemen and the original content creators. As time goes on, interest in going around the cable companies only grows. Just as Columbus and his sailors found themselves willing to risk sailing off the edge of the earth, cable customers today have shown willingness to venture into previously uncharted territory: life without cable. TV networks have also become willing to risk their relationships with cable providers by exploring direct to consumer OTT options for delivering their content. This will be the key to making channel blackouts a thing of the past.
When the networks are both collecting money directly from and delivering their content directly to consumers, there will be no more blackouts that leave cable subscribers helpless as they miss their favorite shows. As it should be, a paying customer will have access to that content. If the content becomes too expensive, it then falls upon the customer to make the decision to cancel the service and go without it, rather than having the cable company’s negotiations determine that for them, as has been the case for Dish Network subscribers many times in the past few months. That’s another advantage that FreeCast Inc has over the traditional cable companies. We serve as an aggregation point for content creators and customers, so we simply deliver users to the content that they want to watch. We charge just $10 a year for our service, rather than taking a big cut to play the middle man, so there are never any negotiations and our subscribers don’t have to worry about blackouts. Rabbit TV Plus is a tool to help consumers save money by helping them find content online. That approach to our product means that our customers can never be used as pawns or bargaining chips they way they sometimes are in cable carriage negotiations.