Latest Commentary

Amid pay-TV's biggest station blackout ever, Dish handily beat Sinclair in perception

The dynamics of cable carriage and broadcast retransmission negotiations differ. But in blacking out its 129 broadcast affiliate stations on the program guides of around 5 million Dish Network customers this week, Sinclair might have been thinking it found a late-summer scheduling sweet spot to dig its heels in -- not yet pre-empting into any serious viewing events, but cutting it close enough to get Dish's attention.

Evaluating Comcast's X1 at 3

Speaking to FierceCable for its latest special report, Matthew Strauss, executive VP and GM of video services for Comcast Cable (NASDAQ: CMCSA), said he wants give the TV the same sort of priority...

ACA's Matthew Polka tweets to FC about runaway retrans, proliferating OTT, rampant consolidation, more

While over-the-top distribution and consolidation continue to roil the pay-TV industry, no issue concerns the American Cable Association more than fast-increasing broadcast retransmission fees. As the FCC gets set to look at 23-year-old laws that govern the negotiations between broadcasters and operators, we caught up with a man on the front line of the discussion, ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka. He's our guest in @FierceCable's first Twitter chat on Thursday, August 13, at 2 p.m. ET.

Pay-TV execs are clearly 'disconnected from reality:' Change isn't 5 years away, it's now

Sifting through the pay-TV and programmer earnings reports that triggered a three-day, $60 billion Wall Street bloodbath last week, a theme emerged: From Disney's Bob Iger to Cablevision's James Dolan to Time Warner Cable's Rob Marcus, the pay-TV ecosystem's top executives were trying to buy time. Like, five to 10 years ... that should do it.

ESPN scratches and claws to sustain its margins amid souring pay-TV economics

At a time when platforms like Netflix continue to increase their spending on content, can the most expensive programmer in the pay-TV ecosystem keep cutting costs and stay in the bundle?

Apple Music, Sling TV pave the way for Apple's TV strategy ... but time is running out

There was one topic conspicuous in its absence during Apple's quarterly conference call this week: The company's plans for the TV. And that's surprising given the TV industry's remarkably rapid embrace of everything a la carte and OTT, from HBO Now to Showtime's OTT service to Dish's Sling TV to Comcast's Stream.

How the global set-top market lapsed into recession ... and how it can return to growth

In the 2000s, global sales of pay-TV set-tops boomed, as operators raced to keep up with consumer demand for digital video recorders, HD and digital cable. But all winning streaks eventually come...

Examining the funding behind the NCTA, ACA and other telecom-industry trade groups

The cable business and its telecom-industry brethren are backed by plenty of acronymed trade groups. But how these orgs are backed is often unclear. Luckily, the telecom industry's top trade...

Will SVOD make programming networks like HGTV, NBC and AMC obsolete?

Some call it "network flow," but I've also heard it referred to as the "network effect." It's how programmers monetize their expensive hits. After all, what incentive does ESPN have for paying the NFL $1.9 billion a season for TV rights if it can't ubiquitously brand its coverage and drive viewership to other programming?

The video business is dead … for those without the will and resources to compete in it

To hear executives at America's No. 4 and No. 10 cable companies explain it, television is a dead business. "The video subscription model is broken and cannot be fixed," read one presentation slide from Cable One. I agree with the first part. But I'm not sure about that second part.