American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Oct. 3 regarding Turner Broadcasting System's decision to pull its suite of channels from Cable ONE, an ACA Member, just prior to Major League Baseball's playoffs:
"Turner Broadcasting System's decision to pull TBS and other cable networks from Cable ONE on the first day of Major League Baseball's playoff season is deeply disturbing. Turner's move is yet another brazen example of how a media conglomerate uses the withholding of marquee sports programming from consumers as punishment when a cable operator refuses to force its subscribers to pay for expensive,
unpopular and low-rated programming that Turner seeks to bundle with TBS.
"Cable ONE, unable to avoid Turner's current industrywide campaign to extract hyper-inflationary price increases and excessive channel-bundling demands in its contract renegotiations, then sought to carry just three select Turner channels (TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network) that have been most popular with its customers.
"But in a vindictive spasm of power, Turner blocked Cable ONE's right to carry only TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network pursuant to an open agreement Turner makes available to other small cable operators. Turner justified its move based on a tortured explanation that Cable ONE is challenging. That being the case, Turner's objective here is quite clear - to perpetuate the broken expanded basic dinosaur at all costs and sabotage Cable ONE's ability to offer consumers programming that they truly desire.
"ACA urges Turner to immediately stop blocking Cable ONE customers from receiving TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network.
"ACA has long complained that the bundling practices of the major cable content companies result in cable operators paying for channels they don't want to offer to their customers. It's a problem not only for Cable ONE and hundreds of small and medium-sized cable operators, but also for large cable companies like Cablevision, who recently took Viacom to court over the bundling issue. ACA is currently reaching out to
Washington lawmakers and regulators to explain that this situation illustrates yet one more time how programmers refuse to let cable operators develop packages that are tailored to their consumers' preferences.
"The list of channels Cable ONE sought not to continue carrying from Turner, a division of Time Warner, Inc., includes CNN, CNN Espanol, Headline News, TCM, TruTV and Boomerang. Cable ONE will be crediting its customers automatically for lost programming while it searches for replacement programming."