Scripps

The best rhetoric in business: cable vs content

October 18, 2010: 1:26 PM ET

When the cable providers and the companies providing the shows fight over fees -- as Cablevision and News Corp currently are -- the viewers lose. But those who enjoy their business bare knuckled definitely win.

Forget the monkey, now it's the (Detroit) Lions' time to weep

As the "Cablevision vs. News Corp." feud escalates, more than three million subscribers remain without Fox programming. Cablevision blames News Corp. for demanding an extortionate increase in retransmission fees; News Corp. argues Cablevision isn't negotiating in good faith [See CNNMoney's "Cablevision loses Fox channel"]. But regardless of who's at fault, the licensing spat has proven to be every bit as vitriolic (and entertaining) as prior cable contract negotiations.

Indeed, nowhere in the world of business does such juvenile name-calling, verbal hair-pulling, sub-Algonquin-style repartee exist outside of the recurring cable vs. network fee-battles. Behind closed doors, executives from all industries may let loose on customers and rivals, and lawsuits contain spurious allegations of misdeeds. But these particular media battles take place in front of both sides' customers -- and because they each own ad inventory, the attacks come over and over.

So kick back, get the popcorn ready, and let's revisit the greatest hits from recent cable licensing deals-turned-boxing-weigh-in spectacles -- a feature we pledge to update each time a contract breaks and fighting words get spoken. More

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