TWC v. CBS: The end of Free TV…is coming!

Whether you have had or currently have Time Warner Cable, you may likely have heard (or been affected by) the recent “contract dispute” with CBS as it is related to their programming being a part of YOUR cable package. Let me assure you this is just thebeginning folks. Allow me to say this now, because it has been coming for 20 years, and that is the “end of free TV.” Sure it will take some time for this to really come to fruition and make me right…but this dispute was an example of why it will. Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS Corp. was quoted as saying the following: TWC Blackout Will Cost CBS ‘Virtually Nothing’. Now the blackout was for about 36 days. If that can cost CBS virtually NOTHING, then “Houston…we have a problem.” The point being gang is the TWC lost. As a matter of fact I switched back to DirecTV during this time. I did it out of common sense because one of TWC’s big selling points is “no contract.” Remember, no contract goes BOTH ways, and I’ll again guarantee you that somewhere in the next 6-12 months Time Warner, will suddenly RAISE their rates on customers.

I also think that you’ll continue to see more and more disputes like this over time and if we do that at some point each distributor of content…will just have their content be independently available for a fee. There may come a time when we have to have like 10 subscriptions to programming providers to accomplish what having DirecTV now does by having them all packaged…OR, if that doesn’t happen, then your itemized bill my be by a provider like a DirecTV but those 10 providers will be listed as a line item on your bill.

This is all coming because of New Media, Digital Technology, the END of “appointment television” and the proliferation of devices and a global mobile form of entertainment and news consumption. It is that simple. When we hit Y2K, and crossed over into the 21st Century I said a LOT of things about the future while speaking on a weekly basis at The Actors’ Network. One of the many things that I said, and feel that I’ll ultimately be proven correct, is the return (in some form) of the OLD “studio system” for actors. I said this because it is logical and common sense IF you’re a content creator.

From Google, to YouTube, to NetFlix, to Blockbuster, to Amazaon etc. etc. At the end of the day, if ultimately the CONTENT you create YOU have the ability to distribute yourself…then wouldn’t you WANT the “best players” on YOUR team? Of course. Well, that is what the old studio system was predicated on in the sense that Universal had “so and so” under contract and Columbia had “what’s her name.” One studio was keeping an actor from being able to perform in the “other studios content.” So using the recent story of “House of Cards” Netflix and Kevin Spacey…why in the world won’t this become the deal.

Well I believe it will because Kevin is now LOYAL to Netflix for “believing in his project” and not just “shooting a pilot” to see if people like it. Contracts can be written and built in a million ways to allow someone to go do a studio feature film…but tying up stars for SERIAL type programming or from project to project…I’m telling you now…is the future of talent acquisitions and content creator contracts. That reality will drive content creators, who can NOW BE also the distributors as well, to eventually opt out of their “package deals” with having their content packaged into “cable packages.” You heard it here first. 🙂

As always, on your side. @TheKevinE & &