Sometimes it's nice to still be in the newspaper business. We don't have to negotiate contracts with larger provider companies to get our product out to the consumer, just our paper delivery people.
Media General, which owns WBTW, on the other hand, looks like it's locked into the latest of what's become a regular barrage of fee disputes with cable providers. The channel has launched a website, dontdropwbtw.com, in an effort to rally its viewers to pressure Time Warner into a better deal.
It's a well-worn path. We've seen the same brinksmanship in the past in fee disputes between Time Warner and Fox, Time Warner and ABC, Time Warner and MSG, Time Warner and Hearst, Time Warner and Viacom...
I have a hard time not just feeling cynical about the whole thing, however. I've got nothing against the good folks at WBTW, who I'm sure have pretty much nothing to do with the contract negotiations of their corporate parent, but as a viewer I do get a little frustrated by these transparent machinations designed to 1) worry me that my station is disappearing, 2) redirect my anger toward Time Warner and 3) pressure Time Warner into giving Media General more money. This, after all, is the same company that just finished what it called "a very strong year" by giving out a week's worth of bonus pay to its employees.
Meanwhile, Media General is already working to exempt itself from any blame in the fallot. Will paying Media General more mean that Time Warner cable bills go up? WBTW's FAQ (which mirrors the FAQ on all the Media General stations) says that's not their problem. If Time Warner decides to raise my cable bill to make up the difference, that's their decision. Don't blame us.
It's enough to make me pick up the paper.