A Time Warner/MSG Update
Earlier, I reached out to a Time Warner Cable Communications Manager who had joined "Game On" a few weeks ago, asking her for an update on the current MSG blackout situation. She informed me that, unfortunately, Time Warner and MSG seem far away from reaching a deal, as the two parties haven't resumed any negotiations since the January 1st blackout, when Time Warner issued an official press release outlining the stalemate. Time Warner still claims they've offered to increase MSG's current rates by 6.5% to keep the channels on air while negotiations continue, but as of yet the two haven't reopened talks. In case you missed Joe Bianchino's article earlier this week breaking down the situation, you can find TWC's press release below:
MSG LEAVES TIME WARNER CABLE SPORTS FANS IN THE DARK
After demanding enormous price hikes, MSG takes its programming away
Second time in 15 months MSG disappoints New York sports fans
NEW YORK, NY – MSG Networks removed its sports channels from Time Warner Cable lineups this morning, depriving New York sports fans of many of the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Sabres and Devils games. It is the second time in 15 months that MSG Networks has done this to New York-area fans, having removed their channels from DISH Network subscribers in September 2010.
“We had a deal within reach earlier this year,” said Mike Angus, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition, for Time Warner Cable. “Despite agreeing to the asked for 6.5% price increase on rates that MSG themselves deemed as fair market rates just last year, MSG reneged on the deal and instead, demanded a whopping 53% increase and refused to negotiate further.
“We hate that our customers have been put in this terrible position, and MSG has offered no credible explanation as to why they suddenly need a 53% increase over last year’s rates. Perhaps after renovating the Garden they are looking for New York sports fans to fund renovations of the Forum they recently purchased in Los Angeles. Who knows, but if they have substantial new funding needs, that’s what banks – not our customers – are for. We hope the fans will remind MSG that in these economic times, no one can afford to pay 53% more for their channel.”
The good news for sports fans, however, is that they will still have access to a lot of their favorite teams’ games on Time Warner Cable. Nearly 40% of the remaining Knicks games, most NBA playoff games and the NBA All-Star game will still be available to our customers. Nearly 30% of Rangers games, nearly 20% of Sabres games and some Devils games will also be available as well as the majority of the NHL playoffs. To learn more about what channels the games are on, visit our website: www.twcconversations.com/MSG .
“We understand that sports costs are rising, but everyone in the sports food chain has a responsibility to manage costs with a long-term view and to understand what consumers consider to be a reasonable value, and can afford and absorb. Unfortunately, MSG is not accepting that responsibility, and is instead passing along massive price increases that will end up in our customers’ bills. In these tough economic times, our customers have to stick to a budget, and so do we.”
To offset a little of the disappointment caused to our customers by MSG’s decision to take away their programming, Time Warner Cable announces a special month-long freeview of Time Warner Cable Sports Pass, a package of more than 15 sports-oriented channels that normally retails for residential customers at $5.95 per month. The freeview will be available from January 1 – 31, 2012. A list of channels included in the Time Warner Cable Sports Pass and eligibility requirements can be found at www.TWCConversations.com/MSG .
About Time Warner Cable:
Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is among the largest providers of video, high-speed data and phone services in the United States, connecting more than 14 million customers to entertainment, information and each other. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers data, video and voice services to businesses of all sizes, cell tower backhaul services to wireless carriers and, through its NaviSite subsidiary, managed and outsourced information technology solutions and cloud services. Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at http://www.timewarnercable.com, http://www.twcbc.com, www.navisite.com, and http://www.twcmedia.com.