In late January the Federal Communications Commission announced a proposal allowing cable and satellite subscribers to pick the devices they use to watch programming. Nearly all customers now must get their boxes from their cable companies, and they pay an average of $231 a year to lease the devices, which has led to many subscribers looking for alternative sources for television.
The game changing move could have major impact on the industry, allowing Google, Amazon and Apple to expand their footprints in the media industry with devices that would blend Internet and cable programming in a way the television industry has resisted. The initial reactions to the FCC announcement was exactly what we expected. The technology industry widely cheered the proposal, while the cable industry did their best “In Living Color – Men on Film” impression and “Hated It!”
TV One Chief Executive Alfred Liggins was in opposition of the change stating, “Distributors will be forced to reconsider what they pay for programs that can be siphoned off, repackaged and resold, drying up the revenue needed to underwrite quality shows. These arrangements — including critical terms such as channel placement, advertising, scheduling and more — are the lifeblood of the video marketplace today.” If you didn’t know, TV One is currently in about 57 million homes and continues to help sustain the Radio One brand.
The original founder of BET, Robert L. Johnson had a different take on it and opposed his good friend, Alfred regarding the universal set-top box.
“As the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), I know how difficult it was to get distribution over cable. But with the support of the cable industry and the African American community, I and others, turned bet into the success it is today.
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