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Example #165 of Time Warner Cable “Listening” to Customers

Phillip Dampier May 19, 2009 Issues 16 Comments

I had no idea.  Why was I not informed?  Did I miss the campaign?  Did I miss the protests?

Time Warner Cable has announced it is dropping HDNet and HDNet Movies from its HD lineups nationwide on May 31st.  Was there a clamor for these channels to be tossed off Time Warner Cable lineups?  Multichannel News printed the excuse:

Asked why the company was dropping HDNet’s services, Time Warner Cable director of corporate public relations Robyn Watson said, “There’s a limited appeal for the programming. In a world with more than 100 HD channels, being in HD is not enough. We are adding other channels in HD to give our customers more choice.”

danrather02Folks offended by Dan Rather in HD will be pleased, but those who watch HDNet for their mixed martial arts programming won’t.

Of course, customers really don’t have much choice either way.  The real reason TWC is dropping these networks is that there is a price dispute over what TWC is willing to pay for them.  Mark Cuban, who owns the two networks, apparently wants more than what the bean counters at the cable company are willing to pay, so the channels are gone whether you wanted them or not.

The delightful replacements, which you also didn’t clamor for (and probably never heard of) vary by system.  In Rochester, the Smithsonian Channel and RFD-HD will replace the two channels.  In some other areas, Mav TV will be forthcoming.  How many of you knew any of these channels even existed, much less in HD?

It’s ironic that two networks that were among the first to highlight and showcase high definition programming, and are routinely used in showrooms to show off HD picture quality, are now being banished for the likes of RFD-HD, which shows Hee Haw reruns and the chased-into-obscurity Don Imus.  My only question: who is more frightening to see in crystal clear high definition, Dan Rather or Don Imus?  If Hee Haw circa 1974 didn’t sell you, here are some of the other shows on RFD to consider:

  • cattleMachinery of the Past
  • Fiesta of the Spanish Horse
  • Classic Tractor Hour
  • Big Joe Polka Show
  • Brazil Ag Report
  • Superior Livestock Auction
  • Training Mules and Donkeys
  • Tractor Supply Company Live

Get the popcorn ready.  Get more if you are going to sit through the Livestock Auction.  That runs from 9am-5pm on Friday with no breaks.  That’s a whole lot of bull.

As far as Mav TV goes, it’s billed as “TV created by men for men” and seems to have a core programming requirement that bikini clad models parade across the screen every 15 minutes, and things need to get “blowed up real good.”  I suppose that might look better in HD, but it only reinforces the broader argument that at the same time a cable company wants to convince you to pay for only what you consume online, on the video side where the channels you didn’t care for and didn’t want come and go with little notice, you’re still forced to pay for all of it.

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Tim
Tim
13 years ago

God, I could think of 50 channels that they should do away with altogether besides HDNet. There are so many junk channels out there, I think people should be complaining about being “forced” to pay for those channels. Better yet, how about letting consumers choose what channels they want? Now that’s an idea!

DaveM
DaveM
13 years ago

There may be a sizable chunk of viewers in the Rochester area interested in RFD-HD including those in the horsey crowd, but they should pay for it and those not interested should not. ESPN and the commercialized Weather Channel along with the majority of channels, count me out. I can get better coverage on the net. Cable TV should be 100% Pay per View.

Ron Dafoe
Ron Dafoe
13 years ago

I seems silly to argue cable tv should be pay per view and the internet not.

I don’t see what the problem with this. Programming has come and gone. Why TW doesn’t offer up these kinds of things as options, I don’t know.

David
David
13 years ago

aww, c’mon guys! I for one am totally excited that I now get to see those ‘Ms Lucy’s Cajun Classroom’ and ‘Little Britches Rodeo’ shows that I have heard so much about….ohh wait…no, actually I have never heard of those shows or this channel before…great job TWC! thanks for listening!

DaveM
DaveM
13 years ago

Getting back to the point of this site, we’re against caps. Everything else should be subservient to it.

Michael Chaney
13 years ago
Reply to  DaveM

But I think it’s important for this site to dig deeper into WHY they want these caps in the first place and WHY these caps are bad. I think this speaks to the fact that the old model of programming packages and forced content is dead and the new model is on-demand delivery of only the content you want via the Internet……and you can’t do that with caps.

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
13 years ago

We did not start this forum topic but it does further show just how much lower TW is willing to go to cut costs for them at the expense of us. Be it internet or TV they collect the check every month. The less value they give you the more they make. On the concept of paying for only the channels you want do you think if you have 100 and want to drop 50 your bill is going down 50 percent. Good luck with that…with the new selective channel fee they would dream up you might gain $1. Kind… Read more »

jr
jr
13 years ago

The customer is always wrong is Time Warner’s motto

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
13 years ago

Stop the Cap has been doing a very nice job of what it does. There is a reason this topic was put here and was said best in the may 18 update post. While things are all quite on the western front for the moment what a better time to explore some of TW’s other practices for future use. IMHO

R.J. Johnson
R.J. Johnson
13 years ago

HDnet is a subscription-based channel, meaning that unlike ESPN and the Weather Channel, I only pay for it if I decide I want to.

I happen to pay the $5 a month for HDnet. I ordered it a few months ago just to watch Ring of Honor wrestling. Now I’ll just switch to downloading the program off of torrents, thats unethical but if ROH or HDnet offered the program on hulu or even pay-per-view off their website then I’d continue to pay and support them.

Does this also mean that my bill will be $5 cheaper each month?

Todd Bernhard
13 years ago

Funny, I heard Bob Lonsberry talking about “Big Joe Polka Show” yesterday.

His four year old watches it and dances to it. And something tells me Lonsberry isn’t a fan of Dan Rather. So they’ve got at least one household that’s happy.

Can we just get Verizon FiOS already?!?!

Rich Jefferson
Rich Jefferson
13 years ago

Oh well… There goes my access to Torchwood in HD (if I’m remembering which channel that Season Pass lives on correctly). Boo. I wonder where I’ll be able to find it now? Oh yes! I think I know. Guess I should be glad I don’t have capped Internet service… 😉

Oh and this was a big part of the reason I paid for the “HD Premium” tier to get the extra channels (HDNet, HDNet Movies, UHD, and MGMHD). I wonder if the $6.95/month I pay for that will go down? Hmmmm?

Rob
Rob
13 years ago

If these were Time Warner owned channels you can bet they would stay. Cable companies give their owned channels special treatment while discriminating against competitor channels.

Just look at the dispute between Comcast and the NFL over the NFL Network.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Per the following URL:

http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000575.html

Lauren states that “TWC will happily drop the tier from your package — if you pay them $3!”

If you run into this, please blog/tweet about it and file a complaint with your state’s Attorney General.

Cheers, -g

Joseph Kim
Joseph Kim
13 years ago

Sure enough, no more HDNet and HDMovies channels as of this morning here in Austin area. I’ve been watching the replacement “so-called-HD” channels off and on today (Smithonian HD and MavTV), and I’ve yet to catch a real HD program on them – only badly scaled SD shows. It doesn’t surprise me that they’re selling these channels to me in an extra cost “HD Tier” package – because, after all, I’m just a dumb customer who dutifully pays them $200/month to get screwed. I’d complain, but they’re clearly not listening. Half that $$$ amount will soon go to AT&T U-Verse… Read more »

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