Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Time Warner Cable Loses

Grandad and Grams have been Time Warner Cable subscribers since our local cable service became Time Warner. We've been using the same cable service since we got married in 1975. That's 36 years. Fact is, we've never even been tempted to switch.

Several times over the years, Time Warner has been involved in contract disputes with one or the other of our local television providers. When that happened, Time Warner would drop the local provider from their lineup and we would have to attach a switch and rabbit-ears to our television. The switch would de-activate the cable and we would use an antennae to pick up the UHF broadcast and watch the local station. When we were paying $35 per month for cable service that didn't seem like an unreasonable thing to do. It was a little inconvenient, but not too unreasonable.

In early December, we started hearing that Time Warner and KRISTV, our local NBC affiliate, were in a dispute yet again. On December 9, KRISTV announced that Time Warner would be dropping their feed. Approximately one day later, they did indeed drop all four stations that are either owned or operated by Cordillera Communications leaving approximately 80,000 customers without NBC. That includes KRISTV (NBC), The CW, KDF, and KAJA Telemundo. I don't know exactly what the details of their disagreement are. I believe its about rebroadcast fees. The local affiliate wants to be paid more, Time Warner doesn't think they should pay more for something that's available free without cable. Time Warner would have to pass the expense on to consumers.

We didn't react right away. We've been here before, it usually lasts a few days or a couple of weeks at most, then they kiss and make up and the television station comes back on. Not so this time. We have not had access to any NBC shows since December 10 and frankly I'm more than a little ticked off about it.

I have always preferred to get my local news from KRIS. I worked very closely with them on an annual back-to-school supply drive for many years. I start my morning with The Today Show and I always have. I even time my mornings by the show. I need to be finished with my coffee by the time the show starts. I have to finish my makeup before the second news segment starts and I must be out the door by the time the local news comes on. I also finish the day to The Tonight Show.  Jay Leno and I go way back. I know he's not popular with the younger generation, but I really like his show. Not to mention, all the other NBC programs I've been missing.

It wasn't too bad over the holidays because everything was in reruns anyway, but since new programming resumed, I've become less and less tolerant. I didn't really complain too much until last week when I realized that I was going to miss Harry's Law and the 60th Anniversary of The Today Show. Thanks to whoever updates The Today Show on Facebook I discovered I could watch it on the internet, so I did.

I complained so much that Grandad offered to go buy an antennae and hook it up so I could manually switch to NBC when I wanted to. But, seriously, when you're paying more than $100 every month for cable services you shouldn't have to do that. At that price, I'll be damned if I'm willing to switch to an antennae for NBC.

In the past two weeks, both parties have stopped negotiating. Each of them points a finger and blames everything on the other party, but no one gives an inch. It's interesting to note that they have not shared the details of their negotiations so it's impossible to know who is right and who is wrong. I suspect it's a little of both. KRIS has now filed a complaint with the FCC asking them to order Time Warner back to negotiations. You can read what KRISTV has to say about it here.

For me, the bottom line is that there is only one NBC affiliate in our town and there are several cable/satellite outlets. So, the local affiliate wins and Time-Warner loses.

Today, we switched to Direct TV. The station line up is very similar and so far the reception is great. And we got it just in time to watch the Golden Globes. I do love me an awards show! And, as a bonus, we get service in the entire house for less than we paid for one television with Time Warner. We signed a two year contract with Direct TV, so we're not going back anytime soon. Sorry Time Warner, you lose!


  1. OK! You have inspired me to check out Direct TV. We also have Time Warner and I am more than ready to leave them behind! We have had many outages and we also have our internet access through them and it just continues to get slower and slower. They are always willing to help solve the problem -- I just need to upgrade to a more expensive package! No.

    Thanks for the info!

  2. We switched to Directv also about 6 months ago from AT&T. I have to say, I am not disappointed. We chose them because they were so much less expensive and AT&T was offering new customers a much lower rate. This type of marketing really bothers me, especially when now that I have left them they are now offering the lower rate to come back but wouldn't budge when I gave them the chance before we switched.

    Good for you for switching.