Fox v. Cablevision, Convergence and the Future of TV

Even if you don't care about baseball, you need to know the score in the game being played between Fox and Cablevision. That's because the company that owns the broadcast rights to certain popular baseball games (Fox) has been using those rights to go after cable companies (like Cablevision) to get more money for the retransmission rights (the money Cablevision pays for the right to have Fox on their cable system) for all content provided. Why does this matter? If you're reading this post on your TV screen or you have figured out how to watch TV on your computer, you probably already know that the Internet and TV are becoming one. This convergence has huge implications for the big content companies, who feel billions of dollars of potential revenue are at stake. Specifically, the big content companies want the cable operators (who provide Internet to consumers) to preserve the status quo - of bundled services and high retransmission fess. That's why the first two games of baseball's World Series were blacked out in NY last week: Fox, a big content provider used the World Series to squeeze more money from Cablevision, a cable company. And this was just one small skirmish in the much larger battle over the future of television. In this Washington Post videoblog, Marvin Ammori, a law professor at the University of Nebraska, explains how established content providers (like Fox) are fighting against the new ways of consumption. Ammori may not be exagerrating when he says “[t]he future of television may be decided within the next six to 12 months."

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