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What Major Change to Cable TV Could Be on the Horizon?


On TheBlaze radio Monday morning, Glenn Beck asked his listeners to continue petitioning their cable providers to get TheBlaze TV. He said it seems cable providers are not listening to some of their customers by, say, providing Al Jazeera and not content like that hosted by TheBlaze TV.

At the same time, Verizon has announced its hopes for a demand-based system that would entice smaller channels and outlets by paying them per view.

As Verizon's Chief Programming Negotiator Terry Denson put to in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the company is paying for "a customer who never goes to the channel."

Denson said Verizon's FiOS TV would like to open the door to a "significant number of channels" but the deal would be they only get paid per "unique view" per month or when a viewer watched programming for more than five minutes.

"If you are willing to give a channel five minutes of your time, the cash register would ring in favor of the programmer," Denson told WSJ.

This is not quite the a la carte cable plans we've reported on in the past. Subscription fees for the cable service paid by the customer would stay the same, but Denson said it might "stabilize retail prices for consumers." It could also begin to start weeding out channels that perhaps have low viewership in favor of those that are actually watched.

As for how this would impact some of the larger channels, WSJ reported it might help some while hurting others:

Many channels owned by big media companies are available in nearly all the roughly 100 million households with pay TV, according to media researcher SNL Kagan. And while many of the most-popular channels earn the highest fees, big disparities exist, particularly for sports channels, which cable and satellite operators view as particularly valuable.

Here's how companies getting paid per view instead of ratings might look. (Image: Wall Street Journal)

WSJ reported a cable-network executive saying that similar ideas have not been taken up before because the distributor often says they will cap the amount they'll pay for channels with high viewership.

What could a system like the one Verizon is proposing mean for fans of TheBlaze TV then, where founder Glenn Beck has been urging viewers to tell cable provider that they want TheBlaze? In theory, such a system where independent channels are brought on board by a cable provider but only get paid for the views they garner could open the door for channels like TheBlaze. Or at minimum show a receptivity to the idea of getting new content.

As for the Get TheBlaze campaign, GlennBeck.com recently asked "are they listening?" referring to the reaction of some of the top cable providers. President of Business Development Lynne Costantini pulled together some responses from cable providers to such requests that have been made:


“….we are always in discussions with programmers about which channels to add to the DIRECTV lineup, but have no plans to add The Blaze Network at this time. Thank you.”

“We’ve gotten a bunch of letters…. , but we don’t see that there’s much demand.”  

Time Warner Cable:

“Thanks for your input. As you probably know, we’re constantly evaluating new networks for carriage on our lineup. You should know that Blaze TV already makes its programming available to interested customers, for a fee, online.”

“We’ve gotten a bunch of calls and some letters, but not enough interest to make a difference.” 

Verizon, the post pointed out, has said it is tracking requests for TheBlaze and has a form survey for interested parties.

"They need to understand that you’re not okay being forced to pay for channels like MSNBC, CNN or Al Jazeera America and that you want TheBlaze on cable and satellite television because this is a network that represents your values," Costantini wrote in response to what most of the cable providers have said to requests made so far.



Featured image via Shutterstock.com.

(H/T: Gizmodo)

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