NFL Network/ Cable Controversy Heats Up - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/14/2007-East Texas

NFL Network/ Cable Controversy Heats Up

Crisis in Cowboy country, all over the NFL network. The upcoming Cowboys Packers game is one of eight games the NFL Network owns the rights to air. The controversy has just heated up between cable providers in East Texas and the NFL Network.

The NFL Network broadcasts eight games this year, including the November 29th Cowboy's/Packer's showdown. But if you have certain cable providers in East Texas, you may not be seeing any of them.

The problem, according to Suddenlink Communications, is the price. 100 million dollars, Suddenlink said, is what the NFL wants. Suddenlink said it is impossible.

"By doing that that forces a big chunk of money to be paid for out of all of our customers that have that basic tier," said Skip Ogle, Suddenlink Communications. "Instead of forcing that to all of our customers we are asking and continue to ask to allow us to put on a sports tier package so only those customers that want to watch those few football games this year will actually pay for it."

"If NFL wants to negotiate we are asking for that olive branch. We are certainly willing to work with them," said Ogle. "Allow us to put us on a sports tier channel so that only those customers have to pay for that."

"I am sure there are hundreds and thousands of customers who are football games that want to watch this game. But there are many many more customers just here in Tyler as many that prefer not to pay a premium for those few football games. So we are trying to protect our customers in general from any type of cost increase," said Ogle.

"They have already made that same agreement with other cable providers. In Texas alone they have offered the same agreement with Comcast, with Cox Cable," said Ogle.

But according to the NFL network, no negotiations are in the works. Suddenlink Communications, however, said they are willing and trying to negotiate.

Here is the complete email correspondence with NFL Network.

 

From: Palansky, Seth
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:39 AM
To: Capper, Danielle
Subject: NFL Network-Suddenlink Story

Hi Danielle,

Hope you are doing well.  Saw your story on the NFL Network-Suddenlink issue.

Just wanted to let you know you can contact me any time for updates on this.

One thing I should make clear to you.

It is absolutely false when Suddenlink says they are negotiating with us.  In fact they told us to leave them alone they have no plans to carry our channel.

They often tell the media they are in negotiations so they can hold on to customers who are considering deflecting to another TV provider.

I just want to make sure everyone in Tyler and Longview understand that there's no chance Suddenlink will be carrying NFL Network.

The good news is thought that there is still time for those Suddenlink customers to disconnect their service and sign up with Dish Network and DirecTV.  Both Dish and DirecTV carry NFL Network as part of their basic package.  For as little as $29.99 a month the residents there can get satellite service installed for free, get a package of 100+ channels and also get NFL Network.

Thanks,

Seth

SETH PALANSKY

COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, NFL NETWORK

From: Capper, Danielle 
To: Palansky, Seth
Subject: RE: NFL Network-Suddenlink Story

Seth,

Thank you for your email. I have talked to Suddenlink again and am going to try to do more on this story tomorrow. Here is one interesting thing they brought up and I was wondering the same thing:

In an AP story out of Oklahoma City (http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/110207/pro_110207087.shtml), published in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal on November 2, we read that "The NFL Network ... will not be part of Cox's basic cable package in Oklahoma, where the cable company now carries the network as part of its sports and information tier."  To me, that sounds like why, exactly, the NFL Network is willing to make concessions for Dallas Cowboys fans in Oklahoma City but not in Tyler?

Danielle Capper

Reporter

dcapper@kltv.com

From: Palansky, Seth 
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 5:33 PM
To: Capper, Danielle
Subject: RE: NFL Network-Suddenlink Story

Thanks Danielle.  Suddenlink is doing a good job at spinning you.

We at NFL Network don't control how cable companies "package" their programming and what names they call them.

I can tell you this.  Cox's sports and information tier, where yes NFL Network is carried, reaches the majority of all of Cox's customers.

Suddenlink, because their value proposition is so bad, is not having the same sort of consumer adoption of its digital level of service.

We only want two things:  broad and affordable access to our channel.

Suddenlink should be comparing themselves to the competition in your market:  Dish Network and DirecTV.  When you look at those two companies you see NFL Network is being offered on their most basic packages at much lower costs than Suddenlink charges.

Suddenlink, the smart business people that they are, do want to take our popular NFL content and use it to drive higher revenues for themselves.  That's smart business, we get it.  But we won't go for it.  They need to put their customers ahead of their profit margins and carry NFL Network on the same terms as DirecTV, Dish Network and 240 other cable providers in this country.

The sad fact is the consumer is losing.  The Cowboys fan is losing.  NFL Network is football 24/7 and Texas is football 24/7 country.

It's too bad Suddenlink provides you eight shopping channels but not one dedicated to football.

From: Capper, Danielle 
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:57 PM
To: Palansky, Seth
Subject: RE: NFL Network-Suddenlink Story

Thanks for your email Seth. I spoke to Suddenlink again today using some of the information you shared with me.

They are still insistent that they want to carry the NFL Network but can only carry it if they can put it into a sports and information tier where customers who are willing to pay for the channel will be.

Is that even an option?

Danielle Capper

Reporter

dcapper@kltv.com

From: Palansky, Seth 
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 3:11 PM
To: Capper, Danielle
Subject: RE: NFL Network-Suddenlink Story

Zero chance.  Your residents there can't afford to keep paying more and more for cable service.  The elderly and lower income folks certainly are avid NFL fans and they deserve broad and affordable access to NFL games.

If 240 other providers can offer our channel under these terms, you have to question why Suddenlink is putting their business interests ahead of their customers interest.


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