Howard & Howard Attorneys PC have put together a study of Michigan wireline MVPDs called the"Cable Competition Index," a new survey introduced a year after the state opened up franchising regulations to allow rapid deployment of telco competitors to the mature cable business. After one year, H&H says very little has changed, for the good, anyway. Attorney Jon Kreucher summed it up, saying "Unfortunately, cable companies scored the triple-play last year: Very poor levels of new competition, exceptionally bad levels of customer service, and prices that often increased ten times faster than the national consumer price index for other forms of recreation."
The firm, which has practiced law in the cable arena for almost 30 years, said that telcos have made it to but 110 of 2,000 Michigan communities, and that just about the same ratio, one out of 20, describes how many Michigan citizens have a choice of one or the other. "That means that the vast majority of our state’s residents will probably be waiting for cable competition for a very long time," Kreucher observed.
TVBR/RBR observation: Let us, as broadcasters, step back for a moment and be thankful that our business model does not involve sending a billing statement to our audience every month. As consumers, we could tell when our cable subscription observed another anniversary recently when predictably, the bill shot straight up again. And when a broadcast signal is interrupted – which by the way almost never seems to happen – it is at worst an annoyance. When our cable service is disrupted, it feels like we are being charged beaucoup bucks for nothing. Other businesses send us bills every month, but we don’t seem to punish them the same way we do MVPDs.
So pity the poor cable MSO. They’ve been fighting and losing the PR wars ever since the business moved into the HBO era, especially on the service front. And John McCain (R-AZ) recites what is almost becoming a prose poem about rising rates just about every April. All we can say is better them than us.