Comcast and Time Warner doing anti-trust tango

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 11:39

If you have ever spent a few billing periods with either company, you know how expensive their entertainment packages can be. In some areas, you don’t even have a choice as Comcast has either paid someone to be the exclusive provider in that area (apartments), or other providers simply haven’t made it there yet. Still, in the year 2009 one would like to think that competition in on the uptick, especially with the economy so low. Why with the economy in the gutter and the assumed competition, the consumer should be saving a boat load right? Not to mention, with the growth of the internet, almost unlimited amounts of new technologies and services are just waiting to be discovered. The only problem is, the industry doesn’t want to discover. They want to recapture the monopolistic past.

Unfortunately, if you life have Comcast or Time Warner service, you may want to really think over your decision to do business with them. With the internet finally becoming “more mainstream” in the sense that it isn’t just a novelty anymore but a legitimate source for information, entertainment, news, etc. It has matured quite nicely the last decade and has many more ahead of it. The internet is full of possibilities for producers and consumers alike. So who wouldn’t want to take advantage of all the new ways to deliver various types of content? If you’re asking yourself that question, refer back to the two names listed above as prime examples of antiquated business practices, policies, and outright incompetence. Also, if you’d like to throw in a tad bit of anti-trust/monopoly in there, I won’t fret.

While we the consumers believe the only reason Comcast screws us is to get richer, in reality it isn’t just that. While getting rich is certainly a big priority, paying the bills to content providers to provide the content for the channels may be an even bigger requirement. Naturally, father like son, the content providers want equally large, monopoly-esque amounts of money that are simply way more than said content is worth. The price just gets passed own to the end user.

With the recent rise of online video downloads and streaming, cable and satellite providers have been starting to notice declines in subscribers. The reason: the internet. Why pay $150/month for a thousand channels of which 20 are actually worth watching and at any given time there is at most 2 interesting shows on when you can simply go online and watch whatever you want, if not for a small fee often free, and fill your entertainment appetite conveniently and cost effectively? Cable providers such as Comcast are on the road to killing themselves be looking at the internet as a threat instead of a new frontier. Instead of innovating and trying out new technologies and service models, they are trying their damnedest to limit, restrict, and control what users can do online.

Tech Dirt has a very good article that outlines the agreement between Comcast and Time Warner that layed out the ways they could limit consumers’ freedom of choice and options in regards to online content — effectively forcing them to be subscribed to a traditional service so they could “authenticate” what they watch. Pretty blatant BS if you ask me. (Heck, even if you didn’t want to ask me…I told you anyway). These types of practices highlighted by Comcast and Time Warner show just how screwed up this entire industry is. Not only cable/tv provider service, but music, copyright laws, newspapers, and more. These two, along with others need to watch themselves as such behavior and practices come off as simply anti-trust — opening them up for big lawsuits down the road.

How can anyone think that limiting consumer choice is going to suddenly leave them weak at the knees and make them want to open their wallets? It won’t! But these companies somehow miss that less than subtle clue. As with many backwards and often disappointing choices made by big, greedy companies is to speak with your wallet. After a few trips to the grocery store with food stamps they may start to come to their senses.

Source: Tech Dirt, Image Source

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