When the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 8.5 million people may lose local television across the nation in a standoff between Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcasting Group. San Antonio, Pittsburgh, and Tampa are among the major cities that could lose service in what is really a game of chicken between corporations.
At best the consumer will be the loser in this game over so-called retransmission fees. Both companies are vowing to take a tough stance, and the question is how much are consumers willing to put up with in this battle of the business wills?
Time Warner argues that other cable companies have paid up, but Sinclair refuses to do so. Is this a negotiation, or is it highway robbery? Both companies are pointing fingers at each other, but last year consumers missed out on the World Series, the Academy Awards, and NFL games.
CNN Money, "Though the local stations will be blacked out if no agreement is reached, the cable company worked out deals with the national networks themselves to continue to air programming throughout the length of the dispute. That means local news and programming would not air, but network shows like "Glee" and "Desperate Housewives" would." Sinclair's argument is that as the cable provider, they are trying hard to battle for cost savings to the customer.
Consumers lost out last year when they missed the Academy Awards, NFL Football, and the World Series. How will all this play out with consumers and investors? Maybe the big boys should compromise with each other, and remember the meaning of customer service. It's hard to determine who is right in this game of corporate giants.