Time Warner Cable would screw you over even worse if they really had their way

Warren Little

Time Warner Cable recognizes the cost of sports programming is getting out of control and also wants to do whatever it can to drive the cost of sports programming way the f_ck out of control.

Just in case you were hoping for something else, the thing you should know is that Time Warner Cable still won't be carrying the Padres in 2013.

The thing that you should really note now though, is this... If you were on the fence as to who to really be irritated with (TWC, Fox Sports San Diego or the Padres), I'm just about positive that most of your ire should be directed at Time Warner Cable. They're really not doing much to demonstrate that they aren't the bad guy here. And it's not just me. There's a shared sentiment among those paying attention

It would be completely one thing, if Time Warner Cable sat on the side of consumer advocacy. If they were the cable company that was out there, trying to keep your bill as low as possible. And actually, they claim as much.

"What was a minor problem is turning into an astronomical problem," Time Warner Cable chief executive Glenn Britt told the Wall Street Journal just over a year ago. "The ultimate solution is to get that programming on some sort of smaller packaging scheme."

But what's really happening?

TWC claimed that FSSD paid too much for the Padres rights and are trying to overcharge to carry the channel. But is that really the case? At this point, AT&T, DISH, DirectTV and Cox all are paying the market price for FSSD. The fact that Cox picked it up right away is interesting because they, of anybody, should know the value of having the Padres in the channel lineup considering they carried the Padres for over a decade during a tough economic climate.

So a fair market price is set and everybody except TWC is paying it. Even if you just wanted the Padres (or the Clippers or Chivas or whatever), you get other programming as the value added to justify the high cost to carry the channel.

Time Warner Cable doesn't like this, so what they're doing in Los Angeles is way outbidding Fox for the rights to carry the Lakers, the Dodgers, etc. And then, since Lakers fans may not care about baseball, they're building a separate RSN for Dodgers games.

And then... This is the great part...

They're charging a sh_t ton of money for each RSN! Remember how they were complaining that nobody wanted their Lakers channel in Los Angeles? Well, instead of using the newly acquired Dodger rights to potentially add value to their crappy Lakers channel, they're going to spend the extra money and overhead to make a potentially crappy Dodgers channel and then overcharge for that.

Meanwhile, FSSD is working to gather up more Aztecs, broadcast basically all the Padres games, and just generally offer more. Their reasoning as a business is that they want to justify the high price one might pay by making you feel that your money is spent actually getting something.

TWC meanwhile, refuses to offer more value and instead attempts to get sports consumers to foot the bill for their billion dollar investments product by essentially doublecharging for it and asking for way above market value (as evidenced by the fact that major providers are refusing to buy). Supposedly, cutting out FSSD should've cut the middle man out of the picture and let TWC offer sports broadcasting for less (since they would get the direct benefit of both the advertising and the subscribers), but the LA market is showing very clearly what TWC would do if they had their way in San Diego. Which would be to screw you over multiple times and in a multitude of ways.

Offer you less for more and cry when they can't get what they want while refusing to service you as a customer. That appears to be the motto these days.

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