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Cable companies are fighting over free channels



It's no secret that the cable industry was slowly creeping to death. The twisting cable packages, which are becoming more expensive than ever, are losing a war with streaming services.

They believe that the well documented death of television would make cable companies try something new and radical. They think they would send their best and brightest employees to work things out in a top-secret hotel lobby. Perhaps they would even agree to lower their prices or commit to a new era of digital television that can compete with streaming services. However, this is not what cable companies do.

No, cable companies are doing something even more radical. They argue publicly about free channels. The cable company Spectrum and the broadcasters of Tribune have started a war over the TV channels, which anyone can access with an old-fashioned antenna.

Tribune owns most major wireless networks such as CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC. These are locally broadcast channels that you can receive with an antenna. They are not strictly cable networks. However, Tribune has license agreements with most major cable companies, and these contracts allow cable companies to include Tribune channels in their lineups.

One of these cable companies, the charter service Spectrum, was to renew its contract with Tribune on New Year's Eve. However, the contract was not signed and all Tribune networks were removed from Spectrum's cable service.

Why was the contract not signed? Well, Spectrum has created a strangely aggressive website to tell its cable buyers that they can not afford to extend the Tribune contract. They claim that Tribune is "driven by greed" and demand "more than 50% more" cash than before.

But Tribune has posted a press release on their website that's "extremely disappointed". They believe that Spectrum is unwilling to extend the contract. With the NFL playoffs as leverage, Tribune sets out how "the NFL playoffs are in danger" and how "they do not want Spectrum subscribers to miss those games." Of course, they can watch the games online for free or over the internet air.

You may be wondering why Tribune does not make a reasonable deal with the Spectrum cable company. Here's the point: Tribune no longer needs to broadcast its channels through cable services. Cable TV is out of favor with most consumers. Tribune has always made its content available to people for free, and it's easy to track its features online (like ABC).

Tribune will eventually make the most of their money on the Internet, so they may also be able to squeeze in a disproportionate amount from a cable company. After all, the cable companies are much more desperate than Tribune. Football fans who miss the playoffs will not be upset with Tribune for taking their game away. They become angry at their monthly 100 percent cable company.

This may be a sign that Tribune and other television companies are turning their attention away from traditional TV formats. It may also be a sign that cable companies like Spectrum do not understand why their subscribers still pay more than $ 1,000 a year for television. All we can say for sure is that it's shitty to pay for cables in 2019.

Source: Motherboard, Tribune, Spectrum
Credit: Burlingham / Shutterstock.com

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