NAB ad places blame for carriage wars with Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish Network

You can't argue with these facts from the Nat'l Assn. of Broadcasters. So, what is it about Time Warner Cable and the two satellite companies that makes them dig their heels in so hard? I dunno, maybe they'll respond.

Matthew Polka
So far the only person responding is Matthew Polka from the lobby group the American Cable Association. He spoke to MediaPost's Wayne Friedman:
Matthew Polka, president/CEO of the American Cable Association, stated: “The point that no one should miss is that CBS' massive blackout of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks showed that the retransmission consent market is broken and outdated rules governing these negotiations need to be updated to reflect current market conditions.”

He added: “If CBS can leave millions of pay-TV viewers in the dark for 32 days, no one can say with a straight face that the marketplace is working well for consumers.” 
There's a problem with that statement. CBS didn't leave their viewers in the dark, Time Warner pulled CBS' channels, a violation of their contract with subscribers in my opinion, as a negotiating ploy. 
Matthew Polka is a liar. Doesn't surprise me, he IS a lobbyist.

Asshole speaks, shit comes out. Surprised? It's Matt Lauer, still surprised?

Ann and Matt. She's making a point, he's thinking smug thoughts.

This headline also could have been, "Dick explodes, toxic spew wiped away."

Matt Lauer to Esquire:
The way the media treated what happened with Ann Curry was a disappointing learning experience. I was disappointed by the laziness of the media, the willingness to read a rumor, repeat that rumor, and treat it as a fact. And yet, what were my options? Does anyone want to see a person who’s making the money that the newspapers say I’m making complaining, “Woe is me, my life is terrible, and people are being unfair”? No one would’ve had any patience for that. I wouldn’t have any patience for that. So you just shut up and go about doing your job and hope that people who know you well — your friends and your family — know what’s true.
Or, you just shut your fucking mouth at that moment when everyone has finally stopped talking about what an asshole you are instead of accepting the bait from that magazine that doesn't hold your interests or your shows ratings as a priority. Where's the publicist? Where's the person telling him to walk away?

And btw no one believes this. No one. NO ONE.



How to advertise at me: Buy Podcasts and Hulu. And giant billboards, huge ones!

If you want to send an ad message my way, if you need my ass to get up off whatever it's on and to a store or a show or a website ... you gotta buy podcasts and Hulu. And of course giant billboards. Who, after all, can resist giant letters telling you to do stuff? (see above)


Of course when I'm indoors billboards don't work. But don't advertise on a network or cable show and expect me to sit through the ads, especially since the days of Chuck Woolery's "we'll be back in 2 and 2" are long gone. Ad breaks can be almost 5 minutes sometimes.

In fact, there was a TV Guide Network show called Stand Up in Stilettos and I found that if you hit the right key on the cable remote to advance the recording five minutes you could actually jump from the end of the last comedian's segment directly to host Kate Flannery introducing the next one. Five full minutes.

I don't watch anything live. With about nine minutes of ads in a half hour show it seems foolish.

The ads I do hear and see sponsor podcasts and shows on Hulu. Even Hulu Plus has advertising. You can't fast forward through the ads for your $7.99 a month, that just gives you the power to push the stuff to your big TV (via Roku, your smart TV, Google Chromecast, etc.).

I wonder what it would cost without advertising. Anyone?  Just an estimate is all I need.

Most of the shows I watch on Hulu have only four ad breaks a minute or shorter. VERY doable. Not frustrating at all.

Sometimes if I HAVE to watch a broadcast or cable show live as it airs I actually forget what was going on in the program because it was SO LONG AGO. 

(Yeah, I'm getting older too.)

The other place you can advertise at me is on my favorite podcasts. Sure, you can fast forward through those ads too, but usually they're read by the show's host and they're so integrated with the program that you ... uh, you just don't.

In fact, some of my favorite WTFpod moments have been when Marc Maron does the big sell for AdamAndEve.com. Very very entertaining. His tone is perfect. Check one here, click this link and then go to 12:35 on his recent Ben Sidran episode. Perfectly executed.

My Hulu membership in fact started from a podcast ad, from Comedy Bang Bang.

Of course I'll always have love for giant billboards. I don't need them to dance or light up or tell me the time and weather. Just be clever and have great visuals.

If you're trying to reach me otherwise, however, you're gonna have to knock on my front door. And, uh ... don't knock on my front door.



Esquire TV will take over Style Network spot instead of G4TV, which was killed for NO REASON!

Can you believe this shit?

Hollywood Reporter:
When the Esquire Network launches later this month, it will do so not on G4 but rather on the Style Network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The decision to rebrand the latter –a tightly guarded secret until this morning—comes as NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group chairman Bonnie Hammer looks to better define the brands in her cable portfolio.
Bonnie Hammer
So G4TV, home of Attack of the Show, Web Soup, etc., that channel was killed last year apparently for no reason whatsoever.

Well, isn't that just one giant fuck you to the people who worked there.

Apparently the reason is that the Style Network has a lot of overlap with other Comcast cable properties like E!, Oxygen and Bravo. That makes total sense. But why didn't someone figure that out before they fired all the G4 people?

I don't understand! Bonnie Hammer is a better executive than this. She really screwed a lot of G4 employees doing this.

Gonna try to get some reaction from the G4 crew and add it later. 


Here's the BIG FUCK YOU from Time Warner Cable

From their site called TWC Conversations, though this is nothing like a conversation. Although it's a Q & A format they both ask the questions and provide the answers. Nice, huh?
Q:  Will I be getting a credit for the blackout of CBS?

We already provided a preview of premium programming from Starz Kids & Family, , and a free movie on demand or an Amazon gift card, and free antennas to those that chose to take them. We also provided Tennis Channel to all digital customers during the US Open. All of that has a significant retail value and we won’t be providing any additional compensation.

Remember that CBS is carried as part of a programming package, and we typically do not adjust what customers pay for changes to the lineup—whether channels are added or removed.
They used me as a pawn in their negotiation.
They failed to deliver contracted services.
I already had Starz.
I don't care about tennis.
I got no gift card.

This is what qualifies as doing business in America in 2013. Time Warner Cable has managed to set the bar even lower than ever before.

The CBS/Showtime blackout is over, so why am I still VERY angry?

It's all over. Sometimes last night after 6 pm. all those Showtime channels on the grid repopulated along with the Smithsonian Channel. Of course we never lost the CBS Sports Network, poor little unpopular channel. It's been the whipping boy of the whole debacle.

I am still pissed off. Pissed off at Time Warner Cable. Pissed off because they chose to not deliver content I had already paid for (you pay your cable bill for the upcoming month's service) as a negotiating tactic in a dispute that should not have involved me at all.

I was not on Time Warner's team or CBS' team, I was on MY team. They were not on my team, despite their constant claims to be "working for me." The point of it all in Time Warner's mind was that they were protecting me from higher prices.


So we're back to Ray Donovan and the final season of Dexter and all the Gigolos reruns you can stuff in your craw from the On Demand menu. One thing this new agreement does do for consumers is provide Time Warner subscribers to Showtime Anytime, their IPTV catchup service. Not yet, just checked, but apparently soon.

I will not be happy until the pay TV services begin to sell access to their catchup services to non-cable subscribers. Starz doesn't have one yet but I'm sure it's in the pipeline.

Ultimately what the disruption did for me was it let me know I could survive without cable. I purposely spent many days with just offerings from Netflix and Hulu and I was very happily enrobed in all kinds of great programming from previously unseen British sketch comedy from Robert Webb and David Mitchell to the first season of Bob's Burgers with which I needed to catch up to movies like Iron Sky (Nazis who have been settled on the dark side of the moon since WWII are found) and Safety Not Guaranteed (Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass get ready to travel through time).

If I didn't have a senior in my home I would be cutting the cord right now. However, he has a thing for turning on the History Channel and watching hours of their Vegas-set pawn and restoration shows. Still gonna try, gonna lay out the costs and the benefits for him and see if I can talk him into it. The difference in price is enormous! These two services and a digital antenna can get you through and quite famously, actually.

Something to think about. Huh?


Aristophanes? The Odd Couple, still freakin' hilarious

Great run of episodes this week and last on The Odd Couple on Me-TV. They're currently airing season three of the show which ran for five years on ABC from 1970 to 1975 and is notable in that it's the rare TV cast that is more identified with these lead roles of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison than the cast of the movie on which it was based.

Yes, yes, I respect Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and their respective places in the pantheon of the movie industry ... but when you think Felix and Oscar they aren't the first people in your head. You gotta respect not only Tony Randall and Jack Klugman for that but also creator of the TV show and producer Garry Marshall who crafted a what is in my mind is one of the great sitcoms of all time and nominated for Outstanding Comedy for three of its five years.

Even if it did start out a little shaky (and it did, those single camera episodes in season one pretty much lay flat for me) it's at this point that the show is finally finding it's legs and gaining some notoriety, enough to book a run of guest stars starting with David Steinberg in season two and then Howard Cosell, Deacon Jones and finally Allen Ludden and Betty White which aired two nights ago.

Here Jack Klugman talks about the episode and Tony Randall's performance:

There's so much on this show at the Archive of American Television, click here for that.

Coming up next week if the shows run in sequence is the ticket scalping episode that created this remarkable piece of comedy that has stood the test of time.:


Is ESPN the NFL's bitch?

Roger Goodell has to do nothing more than have lunch with ESPN's John Skipper and the network pulls out of their 15-month partnership with PBS' Frontline reporting on and analyzing the statistics on concussions in the league and attempts to make football safer.

See the images above for a quick game of "Find the Difference." Today the ESPN logo no longer appears on the website and will not be mentioned in promotion for the episode of Frontline called, ironically enough, League of Denial. Gee, wonder why the NFL has a problem with THAT?

Here's the trailer for it:

I would bet he threatened to pull the Monday Night game from ESPN's schedule. That's a lot of rating points for Disney/ABC. Also that game is perfect counterprogramming to Dancing With the Stars on ABC. I mean, it's soooo perfect.


CARRIAGE WAR: CBS: "It's not me, it's you" Time Warner Cable: "Huh?" CBS: "I get along fine with others"

CBS has reached a retransmission agreement, and in very short order.

But not with Time Warner Cable. It's with Verizon for it's FIOS customers. The agreement covers changes in their fee structure and Verizon will include more content from the forgotten by many and not so popular CBS Sports Network on their mobile network.

Los Angeles Times:
"This important deal was reached swiftly and amicably in just a few days after our conversations began," CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said in an email to CBS employees Thursday that appeared to be a not-so-subtle dig at Time Warner Cable. Moonves went on to say that CBS had offered Time Warner Cable almost exactly the same deal that Verizon accepted.

"In it, we achieve fair value for our over-the-air rights, while preserving our streaming rights as well," Moonves said.
Ow! That hurts, doesn't it Glenn Britt, Chairman of TWC? Apparently it's you who can't play well with others. I know that Glenn is worried that his company is slowly devolving into just a pipeline service for data, but that's the way the market is heading and he'd better wrap his head around that soon and make changes or he'll be standing where long distance carriers stood as his cable company offered nationwide calling for one low low price.

Time Warner Cable, looking this morning like a little bitch! Painted into a corner. Set their own trap.


A sumptuous orgy of TV comedy on Netflix, Hulu & Crackle

So, what do you like? Wanna bathe in a glorious pool of comedy ooze? Let in run over and through you? Give yourself over to the funny without reservation?

Got your comedy boner yet? Well stick it in these shows you can binge on right now on just about any screen you've got. Big, small, in between ... there's no prejudice here, just get your comedy on.

That Mitchell & Webb Look, from BBC Two

BBC America decided after series two that we didn't need to see three or four.

They were VERY wrong. I love these guys (pictured above), they're sketch writing is top notch and they have great chemistry as they always have since starting together with the Footlights at Cambridge and moving through clubs and onto TV in three sketch shows, as the stars of Peep Show from Channel 4 and as the Mac guy and PC guy in the British version of those Apple commercials that starred Justin Long and John Hodgman here in the US.

Watch all of the second season premiere here thanks to some copyright infringer at YouTube, as most of you don't have Hulu Plus:

The third and fourth seasons lose a couple of fan favorite sketches. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar ends with the second series as does Numberwang, but you get a great game show parody that takes place after a horrific armageddon only referred to as "the event." Hilarious. You can't lose with these guys, I'm also rewatching a bunch of episodes of Peep Show on Hulu Plus too.


"I believe that children are our future." They're NOT signing up for cable.

A little Whitney in the morning, at least this song, is good for the self-esteem. Also good for the self-esteem? More money in your pocket, and not having big cable bills is a way to get that done.

Wanna watch the video? Click this

MarketingCharts.com has lots of info on how 18 to 24s as they move into their own places are ordering the big broadband pipe from the cable company but NOT the TV package that usually comes with it. This confirms info posted previously here on the blog:
Perhaps even more disturbingly for pay-TV providers, a significant 24.9% of 18-24-year-old broadband subscribers surveyed by TDG said they were highly disinclined (bottom-2 box score on a 7-point scale) to subscribe to a pay-TV service once they move into their own space. The remaining 43.8% are neutral.

It’s a different story for online subscription video services such as Netflix. 48.7% of the respondents said they’d be highly inclined to sign up to such a service when they left home, making them 56% more likely to subscribe to an over-the-top (OTT) service than pay-TV. Only 14.4% said they were highly disinclined to sign up for an OTT service.
BOOM! The death knell for high priced cable packages.


Angry Time Warner Cable subscribers on Twitter for August 18

The Twitter bird looks pretty mad! I think there's trouble in paradise for Time Warner Cable. If this goes past the beginning of football season all hell is gonna break loose.

Here's a selection of Tweet heat from the interwebs:


Cut the cord links include Sony's streaming deal, pay TV losing market share ... but, where's the news?

Here's some, uh ... stuff. I was interested, maybe you will be too.

Forbes has more to say in the aftermath of the news of Sony/Intel signing on Viacom cable channels for their new Internet streaming service, which will come with PlayStation4 and their branded TVs:
But for those hoping they’ll be able to pick and choose which channels, note that word “bundle.” There is no chance Sony will offer a la carte channel selection, at least not in any way that offers substantial discounting. In a future post, I’ll go through the ugly math of why you are unlikely to see this from anyone anytime soon, but right now Sony’s problem is that it simply can’t negotiate those kind of deals even if it wanted to. In fact, it will end up paying more for programming than a Comcast or DirecTV because it will not be able to promise the kind of volume those companies offer to programmers. The good news is that programming typically represents about 40% of your cable bill so even if Sony pays a bit more, it can charge less.
Well that sucks. I'm not really interested in a channel situation, though. I'd rather have a service that works like Hulu & Netflix where you punch up the show you want to see and have at it. That's too much like cable is currently. I'm still not gonna watch a Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta marathon capped off by a reunion show, it's just not my thing.

(You know what's great over the internet via my Roku box btw, speaking of Viacom? Music videos, a business Viacom used to be in. Vevo on Roku is excellent!)

Two stories at Quartz.com in two days on cutting the cord and the options to fill the void. They say Netflix and Amazon Prime are not enough to replace cable. I agree, for reasons that I think are responded to nicely by adding Hulu. They do make the case however for having news coverage at your fingertips:
Pay television providers are unchallenged by OTT TV in three live TV categories: news, sports, and reality TV. Very few households would choose to drop live TV. This explains why Nielsen’s ZeroTV households, or cord cutters that are not pay TV, subscribers amount to less than 5% of all households.
I can watch BBC News videos via an icon on my Samsung Smart Blu-Ray player but it's not live, one really needs live streaming news coverage for certain inevitabilities. Roku does have some live channels so it's possible, but I'm not paying for the news channel I want (I prefer BBC World) as part of a suite of news services that includes, for example less than credible news sources like the Juggalo Action Report or Fox News Channel or The Blaze. That's one of the reasons I'm leaving cable and satellite, I don't want to pay for what I don't want.

Finally, Digital Trends has a piece looking to the future of cord cutting given recent trends:
A closer look at the numbers show what’s really going on. Despite losing customers in Q2 last year, the top 13 cable providers (which represent 94% of the market) gained some in Q3 and Q4 to cushion the blow. But 2012 was big because it marked the first time the cable industry lost a net number of subscribers. All told, 80,000 were gone over the course of the year. Some of that was made up in Q1 2013 with 195,000 added, but as mentioned above, 320,000 left over the three months from April to June. Can such a topsy-turvy trend really indicate that cord-cutting is a serious threat?

Maybe not “serious” yet, but nonetheless potentially irreversible. Leichtmann Research Group found that the 195,000 number paled in comparison to the 445,000 who jumped on board with cable providers in the same time period in 2012.
I think we're picking up steam, we'll see real movement in 2014.

CBS Sports Network remains on Time Warner Cable. Did they forget?

It's the only CBS cable television property left on my Time Warner Cable connected TV. Why? My theory is that Time Warner forgot they carry the channel.

Why? Maybe it's their programming mix, which obviously includes Major League Lacrosse (image above). Yes, there's professional lacrosse. No, I don't watch it. They wear masks, you can't see their faces like in Aussie Rules Football, which also has sleeveless uniform shirts. WIN!

Also today on CBS Sports Net? Bull riding, arena football and motorcycle racing.


Couldn't have left Showtime, huh?


FREE 2-MONTH HULU TRIAL? The Hulu blog should be more active, should tell you the deals.

The last post on the Hulu blog was on August 5. They need to hire someone to work that blog. No links on any of the show pages, no referring links anywhere else on the site, you actually need to know the URL to find it (which btw is http://blog.hulu.com/).

I'd like to know what's upcoming from them, not the individual episodes that get added but the shows they're planning on bringing in.

If you click around the web you find so much more Hulu info, like this post at CNET (see image above) that offers you a 2-month free trial!!! My trial (in day 5 currently) was only 2 weeks through the Comedy Bang Bang website.Get yourself a better deal, even if you don't wanna watch their original series The Awesomes.

Speaking of which ... The Awesomes isn't bad, it has a fine pedigree coming from Mike Shoemaker & Seth Meyers who bring a bunch of their SNL pals along as character voices. The problem with it I think is it's a cartoon developed by comedy people (with an assist from cartoonist Judd Winick, former Real World participant. Even Winick isn't really the right kind of creative to handle this job in my opinion. Should have grabbed some former TV toon people who really know how to exploit the medium. 

I checked out the four episodes that are up on the site last night. It's a sitcom that's been animated. It should be a cartoon. There's a difference. The only time they did sufficiently exploit the medium was during a scene where they're auditioning new "heroes" to be part of the team. Guy with the rhino head cracked me up.

Otherwise, meh.


HUGE Viacom "cut the cord" news: Its networks' content poised to go online, consumers to benefit

SpongeBob just got so damned tired of crying (see above) that he decided to do something about it, and if you don't think the current distress suffered by CBS didn't have something to do with it I have not just the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you but every span into and out of every major city to boot!

The deal they're striking, and they are first among the big players, will put the content from their many networks on an online service from Sony and Intel that I imagine will look and operate somewhat like Hulu or Netflix Instant.

Joe Flint in the LA Times:
Sony and Intel, which is launching its own over-the-top service, have been meeting with programmers for several months hoping to persuade them to take the plunge.

Programmers have been wary of committing to an over-the-top provider because it could alienate their biggest business partners — the satellite and cable companies that reach most American homes. This is why a Sony or Intel would likely have to pay a premium to get access to content for their services.
This is how Viacom and CBS work. They are both wholly owned subsidiaries of National Amusements, a company that started its history as Northeast Theatre Corporation, a company your intrepid blogger once worked for back in the day.

Redstone, Moonves, Dauman
(My job for National Amusements, believe it or not, was a weekend gig at the Sunrise Drive-In Theatre in Valley Stream, NY. They had a flea market (swap meet for you West Coasters) on the weekends and I sold these big greasy hot dogs and sodas. My paycheck was signed -- actually I think it was a rubber stamp -- by Sumner Redstone.)

Redstone and his daughter own all the stock and control both companies, and traditionally he has pitted the CBS and Viacom chiefs (Les Moonves and Philipp Dauman in a fight to the death to be more profitable. It's a huge rivalry between the two.

Dauman, seeing the trouble Moonves is in right now and having this trouble for his own just recently with Time Warner Cable, is poised now to piss off a lot of cable companies but also take the bull by the horns.The next time there's a carriage war with Viacom stations I'm sure negotiations will highlight this impending method of getting some of television's most popular content online.

It will be very interesting to see how other content providers and cable's major system operators Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, etc. react to this news as the deal is signed and in the days ahead. It's a solid win for consumers, though, and for those of you without CBS it might even motivate those players to hurry up and settle.

In the meantime there are plenty of Viacom shows on Hulu and on Amazon Prime. I imagine those deals would be pulled in should this deal get finalized.

This is nothing but good news for consumers. There needs to be more avenues by which programming comes into our homes for prices to come down. We're on our way.

Deals on digital antennae -- get your CBS for FREE!!! The way it was intended. But what about Showtime?


Sorry if I'm harshing your negotiating tactic buzz, Time Warner Cable, but it's true. FREE!

Channel Master has a deal for you on digital antennae, just use the coupon code "RestoreCBS" at the checkout.

Radio Shack is reporting double digit increases in sales of both indoor and outdoor digital antennae at their stores in cities affected by the CBS blackout; Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Detroit, per Multichannel News.

I can't get you Showtime with an antenna, though. What I can do is implore both Showtime and HBO to make their content available outside the purview of a cable or satellite company. And so can you. Now
HBO's Richard Plepler has already batted down rumors that HBO would offer HBO Go to non-HBO subscribers, interestingly rumors that he started himself. I still don't have access to Showtime Anytime at all because Time Warner Cable isn't compliant.

Take My Money HBO is a website link you can click to check up on the progress of such and occasionally voice your opinion via Twitter. It's run by Jake Caputo, you can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Variety's Andrew Wallenstein makes a great case for this in March:
HBO has good reason not to untether HBO Go. Such a move would undoubtedly trigger a mass exodus from the subscriber base that provides the lion’s share of the $1.5 billion in profits the Time Warner unit pocketed last year. Such a split would also upset the pay TV distributors who fork over billions to lock up that programming exclusively, not to mention shoulder some or all of the marketing and subscriber acquisition costs.
And yet the whiners are correct: It’s time for a broadband-only offering from HBO in the U.S. Let’s call it HBO Go-It-Alone.
Reducing copyright infringement isn’t even the primary reason to make HBO Go available on a standalone basis. More to the point is that the demand for a broadband-only version of HBO is going to grow astronomically; the subscriber count for the linear channels will not.
It is a foolish idea for the pay cable channels to ignore what the consumer wants. The consumer will win. They should get on the bus sooner rather than later.


ICYMI -- ArScheerio Paul: To Script, actual Arsenio Hall interviews reenacted by Paul Scheer & funny friends

This is all I need, I don't really need actual Arsenio to come back if I have this. Thank you Paul Scheer and the crew at Jash.

Watch them all. Right here. NOW! Do it. Look, they're right here ... below this word.

UPDATED: NBC just bought a new Tina Fey/Robert Carlock pitch. Info is limited, this is what I think it is.

UPDATE BELOW, Scroll down.

I'm posting this photo because this is how I feel upon hearing the news that Tina Fey will be back in the sitcom business soon with NBC. The new show, a pitch with former 30 Rock writer/producers Robert Carlock and Colleen McGuinness (who created it) is described by Deadline.com:
Written and executive produced by McGuinness, the project, said to be in the vein of Cheers, is a character-driven workplace comedy where a young woman in search of reconnecting with her father finds a new home and family on Fire Island.
And then later is described by The Onion's AV Club:
What we do know for certain is that it’s about a young woman trying to reconnect with her estranged father, which leads her to discover “a new home and family on Fire Island.” Of course, given Fire Island’s long history as a comedic shorthand for the gay community, you can probably extrapolate what that means: That on this show, everything is constantly on fire. Can this young woman truly have it all, before it’s all reduced to cinder? 
Now, finally, here's what I think it's about. Of course I'm just spitballing, but ...
Lead is a 30ish woman who's just broken up with some asshole guy. She doesn't know what she'll do (complications about where to live result in her being homeless) and at the same time her bitch of a sister manages to impart that their gay dad who left them many years ago now owns a downtrodden resort on Fire Island and needs help. She goes there, hijinks ensue, Dad's maybe a drag queen in the show at the resort, cute guys abound ... and she starts to learn life lessons that will let her eventually find happiness but probably not a boyfriend because that kills shows. She has brown hair.
Whaddaya think? I'd watch my show. I'm sure what this group brings to the table will be just fine. And it's on broadcast television, which is free and not something a cable system can take away from you.

Unless you live in a rough geographic area that impedes that broadcast signal. Or your station is owned by the network that's having a problem with your cable or satellite company.

Or you could just wait till the whole first season hits Blu-ray or Netflix. Your call. Modulate your expectations accordingly.


UPDATE: Stuff happened on Twitter, here's a screengrab. 

Cut The Cord: I am fully, completely entertained by Netflix & Hulu on Roku

I am. Absolutely, full, completely entertained by a combination of Netflix Instant and Hulu on my Roku 2 device. It's been a perfect viewing experience. I had only one issue with the actual streaming on only on one Hulu video (from the 2010 Just For Laughs festival). Otherwise the picture is pristine on my 40" LCD, the useability of the Roku device is solid, and with adding on over-the-air broadcast stations I'd be set. No cable TV necessary.

Last night I watched a couple episodes of The IT Crowd on Netflix, The Speech, which features my favorite thing in all sitcomdom, the Moss and Roy plot that I affectionately call "Jen, this is the Internet" and Friendface, the episode that ends with Moss and Roy fighting to be Jen's fake boyfriend in front of all her old college chums. EVERY episode of this international Emmy and BAFTA winning sitcom that manages to squeeze so much funny out of only four regular characters and does it better than almost any other sitcom in history.

After that the final two episodes of Moone Boy on Hulu (also Chris O'Dowd, who's in The IT Crowd and also the recent HBO series Family Tree). Moone Boy's a show he created about a young boy kinda like him growing up in Boyle in Ireland who happens to have an adult imaginary friend (played by him). Delightful! Wonderful! Very sweet, funny, tale of Liam Moone, a moon faced boy living in the 80s in an Irish town with all the usual hurdles and hardships of being a kid ... with an encouraging someone on his shoulder.

Lovely show.

And great for your not-too-young kids, too.

And Steve Coogan shows up in an incredible guest starring role in the second episode. Don't miss that. His scenes with Liam's mom, played by the beautiful Dierdre O'Kane are hilarious.

NOTE: There are commercials on Hulu. You can't skip them. However, they are short breaks (maybe 40 seconds, tops), not the overlong breaks that broadcast and cable TV needs to keep the lights on. It's doable. These are the first TV ads I've watched in a long time, because I record EVERYTHING, even if I watch the same day. Or in the cast of last night's Jeselnik Offensive on Comedy Central, I started watching 11 minutes after it started so I could FF through the commercials.


Today's Time Warner/CBS dispute news links: Frustration, piracy, predictions, rebates & ratings

As you can imagine, I'm not the only one writing about this. Here's a taste of what some media are focusing on in this battle.

Fern Siegel is a deputy editor at MediaPost and you can hear her frustration:
Assuming you, like me, have been following the exploits of America’s favorite serial killer — or avenging angel, as Dexter sees himself — for years, the frustration is acute! Added diss: The day after I lost the ability to watch the first of the three final episodes, TWC raised my cable price.

Oh, the humanity.

And it did so, while running a statement on TV that read, in part, it was committed to “reasonable rates.”
This is what is known as irony.

After all, when the shouting is over, whatever the resolution, TWC customers will be stuck with the bill, which unlike the stock market, is on a perennial upswing.
Wired Magazine reports that the big winner so far in this dispute is piracy:
Viewers of new CBS hit Under the Dome didn’t seem to be moved by either side’s argument, looking elsewhere for ways in which to keep up with the latest episodes of the series. According to the Torrent Freak blog, “In New York City, one of the largest affected markets, the relative piracy rate more than doubled from 1.3 percent of all U.S. downloads last week to 3 percent for the episode that aired after the blackout.”

In fact, Under the Dome piracy spiked in each of the areas affected by the TWC blackout, jumping 34 percent from the previous week’s episode. This localized increase coincided with a slight drop for the episode in terms of overall downloads for the episode internationally.

NYC mayoral hopeful & City Council Speaker Quinn on TWC/CBS dispute

The war plays out on Twitter, too.

So you say you want to sue Time Warner Cable. You're not alone!

So? So do a lot of other people. Check out the results of this Los Angeles Times poll that asked what end users would like to do in reference to the dispute.

You can still vote in that poll, click this link. It's on the same page as Jon Healey's most recent story on the retransmission dispute (carriage war) between CBS Inc. and Time Warner Cable, from Friday's paper. I know, I think they should have a story every day, too. I'd rather see the Times to original reporting on this than recap So You Think You Can Dance, which they do.

(A newspaper. In a major city. Recaps the dancing show on Fox and publishes it in the paper, often. As if it were news. SMH.)

There are some people following through, people uniquely qualified to do so. In Milwaukee there's a retransmission dispute between Time Warner and their NBC affiliate which is owned by the Journal Broadcast Group. They missed a Green Bay Packers preseason game this past weekend.

The guys bringing the suit, those uniquely qualified guys? Lead plaintiff is Milwaukee attorney Paul Scoptur, and I'm guessing he's not paying himself for his work on this case. That suit might have legs, if only because of an angry lawyer. I never thought I'd be applauding an angry lawyer, but GO PAUL SCOPTUR!!!

His mention in a Friday Hollywood Reporter story at this link.

I'll follow this and keep you in the loop.


Can't get CBS because you're a Time Warner customer? But you CAN!!!

I've been seeing tweets all day from people complaining how they missed their PGA golf because they can't get CBS.

Grrrrrr ...

Broadcast TV is free, boys and girls, and with the exception of the Pittsburgh market you should be pretty able to pick up the CBS network signal with your digital TV even without a digital antenna. I can in San Diego and I'm about 20 miles north of downtown.

(The Pittsburgh market covers a large swath of western PA and a lot of communities east of the city have trouble getting a signal because of the terrain.. Some of the earliest cable TV systems were started in the area, in fact.)

Digital antennas aren't very expensive, a good one can be found for under $40 at Radio Shack and a lot of online outlets. I found Mohu, a company that makes both indoor and outdoor HDTV digital antenna. One of their indoor antenna is pictured above. It's just a flat thing that looks like a mudflap that you either buy a holder for or mount on a wall.

There are others, too. You hook it up to your TV and then go through your TV's channel finding routine and you got all your broadcast channels in HD if you want and with their secondary signal channels as well, like Me-TV (playing classic TV reruns) for some CBS stations.

If you're a Consumer Reports subscriber you can click over to their site and see a review of some digital antenna. At this link.

Get one. Stop missing your shows.

Seth Rogen makes America proud as celebrity harrasser protester of Time Warner Cable

UPDATE: Not a harasser but a protester. Still finding the right language for all this, apologies. Seth is a TWC Customer and a fellow protester. 

Thank you Seth for your service to the cause. Readers, here's Seth's Twitter feed, scroll to see his Time Warner Cable protest tweets. Follow him, encourage him, he has more followers than we do.

Carriage wars: Will anyone win this Time Warner v. CBS thing?

Sam Ro in Business Insider:
"While this appears to be a lose-lose in the near-term, UBS analyst John Janedis thinks it's worse for Time Warner than it is for CBS.

"'Our view continues to be that consumers have more loyalty to the content rather than the company which is responsible for distribution and with contracts often running 5+ years, CBS can’t afford to take below market value given the inability to renegotiate terms,' said Janedis in a research note today.
Indeed, cable subscribers pay Time Warner, not CBS, for the content.  So, it's understandable why consumers would direct their frustrations to the cable provider."
Of course there's another reason why Time Warner should lose support from the marketplace, it is them who have pulled the CBS Inc. content off their systems, CBS was more than happy to keep the stations on during negotiation.

You know who doesn't win? Us. We lose.

Are you missing PGA Championship this morning? Did Time Warner Cable pull you golf coverage?

Missing your golf this morning because you live in a city where Time Warner Cable has pulled the CBS-owned CBS station that's airing the PGA Championships? If you are ...


Sorry, I had to say it. You needed the slap.

Folks, your TV probably gets your CBS station. You don't even have to unplug from the cable. Your TV's manual will give you all the details on doing such. If you're in one of these markets (Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Detroit) find your manual and perform the more-than-likely automatic process that will find your CBS station.

Don't be a moron. Broadcast television is free. It's always free. Despite what's going on here which is a fight over retransmission fees. There's a workaround. Do it.

Though I must say, I don't understand the fascination. The ball and the hole are so small, and it's so boring. 


CBS & Time Warner Cable carriage war fuels cut-the-cord commentary

This new version of the "blue screen of death" above is really pissing me off. How about you?

Lots of stuff in the press today about cord cutting, the business of cable television and the future.

Frank Rose at The New Yorker website:
"... the only way for cable companies to satisfy their customers is to embrace their dumb-pipeness. They need to focus on their broadband business, not their television business—the thing they’re capable of doing well, as opposed to the thing they keep messing up."
 And then later at his own blog Deep Media:
"They (the cable companies) really, really suck at providing it (television). For years, marketing experts have been telling them they need to build their brands by offering more and more services. The problem is, they can't manage the services they've got, and they probably never will."
At Broadcast Engineering, there are handy charts and some stats on customer loss for cable and satellite companies. At this link. And finally, from a while back but worth the read is Netflix' plan to replace broadcast television. They're doing pretty well so far.

Cutting the cord and negotiating cable event series

Broadchurch leads Olivia Colman and David Tennant

Quickly, because it's not the point of this post, let me just say Broadchurch episode one was solid, brilliantly acted (especially Olivia Colman) and sets up some great stuff for the remaining 7 stanzas on BBC America. I'd really like to know what was on that kid's computer that he deleted. And one more thing ... do you think American TV execs would ever choose two people who look like this to star in a series? This is why I love British TV, it's not about how hot you are but how hot your acting is, and these two have it in spades.

I love British TV so much in fact that the real hurt for me in cutting the cord will be BBC America and the other cable channels from IFC to Encore/Starz that license that content. This will require a shift in thinking.

I could buy Broadchurch on iTunes, of course. $20.99 for the eight episodes, making for a per episode cost of $2.62. For 42 minutes of content. A discount of 37 cents for buying the season pass. BTW, they're giving you the first one free if you want, just click here for that (limited time). And then of course I own the thing. Forever. Not that rewatching a crime drama is really a thing, you do already know who did it.

I could acquire one of those UK expatriate browser add-ons that I see advertised and watch it on ITV's catch up service, they're rent it to you for 1.29 UK, two bucks American. I'm not gonna try it, though. Not yet.

Of course, you could always torrent the sucker, but that's really a last resort that I wouldn't use unless, for example, you're Olivia Colman's American cousin and you can justify it with some higher calling to family pride or whatever. Pirating is illegal.

There is something else you can do, though, and it's FREE! It's difficult, though. Are you ready?

Decide not to care.

Yes, you gotta decide not to care. You don't have to be first and you don't have to watch it at the same time as everyone else. You can watch it when it goes to DVD sometime right after the final episode airs. You can watch OTHER shows. Other crime dramas. Other British dramas. Other shows that star David Tennant.

Here's a bunch of examples:

Tennant and another co-star, Doctor Who's Billie Piper
Crime dramas: Your broadcast network shows are still being broadcast! Surprise! Just ask your newfangled never-had-an-aerial-and-doesn't-even-know-what-that-is TV to search for broadcast channels. Check your TV's manual.

David Tennant: There's always some Doctor Who episodes to watch. That's where I met him. Netflix and Amazon Prime and iTunes has them, as well as DVD and Blu-Ray.

British Dramas: Netflix and Hulu are your friends in this regard. Netflix has 41 British TV dramas just waiting for you, including Luther with Idris Elba which is also a great crime drama.

Even if you bought Broadchurch from iTunes you would still be spending less for it, Hulu, Netflix and a broadband connection than you would paying the behemoth cable operators to deliver programming that interrupts you with commercials and costs a fortune.


Time Warner Cable, don't screw with my TV. I WILL cut you.

Sometimes good things come of bad things.

It's day five of CBS Inc. vs. Time Warner Cable. Haven't had any of the gazillion Showtime channels, lost the Smithsonian Channel too, and I didn't even realize CBS served them up.

(Now I understand why Tom Cavanaugh did all that stuff for them, he's probably working off his Love Monkey contract. Yes, I know it doesn't work like that. Yes, I would have liked to see where that show went. No, I don't know what Tom is doing now.)

Missed Ray Donovan on Saturday. Not that I'm current, I have three episodes on the DVR yet to watch. The DVR's a bit of an issue right now, also, it seems to be stopping recording stuff after a time and you have to reboot the thing to fix it. Gotta watch those (and all of Downton Abbey series three) before I turn it in for new hardware, if I do at all, Time Warner Cable you bastards.

You see, the thing is ... CBS is more than happy to have Time Warner continue to feed the channels to their subscribers, but Time Warner has pulled them in an effort to affect negotiation. Apparently CBS Inc. loses $400,000 a day in fees from us because of this. Of course CBS lost probably 20 times that just airing a Rob Schneider sitcom a few times so I don't know how that's a punishment. $400K a day for a corporation the size of CBS is a dime clinking around your washing machine.

So yeah, I'm pissed at my cable company. And I'm doing something about it. And I'm activating this blog again.

I already have a Roku 2, but I also got a Google Chromecast this week. Roku didn't support YouTube and a guy's gotta see his very well shot amateur videos from the Comic-Con panels so that wasn't gonna do. Chromecast is fine, but for a guy like me who doesn't opt for a smartphone in his life (I'm a much better person for it, not judging you) it means operating the thing from my laptop, which means carrying that around the house.

The loser here is Samsung. I bought a Samsung Smart Blu-Ray player hoping it would handle all this but the YouTube interface fails constantly and they decided NOT to update the Smart Blu-Ray for HBOGo, just the higher priced TVs. Boooo!

I know ... White people problems.

So, for the next few weeks I'll be trying out this cord cutting thing without actually cutting yet. Trial run. Test. And if you want you can follow along. I'll update on Twitter too (@JoeWatchesTV) and of course I'll be complaining to every one of my Facebook friends along the way.

Don't screw with my TV. I will cut you.