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    Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    From the IC Press-Citizen:

    press-citizen.com | Sports

    Quote Originally Posted by P-C
    Negotiations between the Big Ten Network and Mediacom are at an impasse.

    The Big Ten Network wants to be part of the basic or extended basic cable lineup. Mediacom would rather the new channel be offered as part of a sports tier that would be available at an additional cost.

    "They see the value in the programming, but think it belongs on another level, where a consumer would have to make another investment," UI associate athletics director Rick Klatt said. "Our position is there's a quantity and quality to it that requires it be on basic."

    Klatt spoke with reporters Monday to update them on how things are proceeding with the fledgling network, scheduled to go on-air Aug. 30.

    There were plenty of chances to talk about some of the groundbreaking things the BTN is doing and the increased number of Hawkeye sports that will be on TV, but most of the interest surrounds one fact.

    Is anyone going to be able to see it?

    "There is an option out there," Klatt said, referring to DirecTV.
    Aside from a bunch of small-town cable companies in the state, having DirecTV is the only way to get the BTN in Iowa. Mediacom, which services the most cable subscribers in the state, has not added the channel, nor has DISH Network.

    "We deal with channel selections all the time," said Phyllis Peters, communications manager for Mediacom. "The Big Ten Network wants a certain business model. Maybe that's a model they can get, and maybe they have to be flexible."

    Peters emphasized that negotiations are ongoing. However, the two sides have different views on the importance of the channel.

    "We think the Big Ten Network has a lot to gain by distributing their product on our digital tier," Peters said. "The University of Iowa doesn't want to diminish its brand by fewer people seeing their teams. "But we have to balance the interests of the consumers we serve."

    Klatt said that in Iowa, people should expect to get the Big Ten Network. After all, the BTN is expected to show four to five Hawkeye football games, 16 to 18 men's basketball games, five to six women's basketball games and three to five wrestling matches this season.

    "Iowans are going to watch those programs," Klatt said. "I'm confident. I think the audience is going to be there. A big chunk of Iowans are willing to watch a big chunk of that programming."
    Klatt showed that in recent years, more than half the TV sets in the Des Moines area are tuned to Iowa football when it is on TV, and about a quarter watch Iowa men's basketball when they play.
    "It's justified to have this in Iowa for Iowans," Klatt said. "The interest in our athletic programs is strong. This is compelling programming."

    Some think both sides are bunkering down for a battle like Mediacom had this past winter with the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Peters said the two situations are nothing alike.

    "That was an industry fight," Peters said. "That's as different from channel selection as day from night."

    Peters said it is also important to not lump Mediacom in with Comcast. The media giant (5.7 million subscribers in the eight states with Big Ten schools) is at loggerheads with the BTN over adding the channel to its basic tier instead of a premium tier, and has been a lot more vocal about it.

    Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen sent a letter to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany in which he said the cable company would carry the network but not if it means sticking customers with "a burdensome Big Ten tax."

    The Big Ten Network is asking for $1.10 per subscriber (in Big Ten states), a rate exceeded only by ESPN.

    "They are in a very public battle with the Big Ten Network," Peters said of Comcast. "Their market is not the same as our market, and what they do is entirely different. We are not in an acrimonious situation at all."

    At the same time, Mediacom hasn't given any indication it will give in by Aug. 30 just to make sure it can show three or four Iowa football games.

    "If (the BTN) really wants their place on expanded basic, then maybe they can give on the price," Peters said. "We hope we can still work something out."

    The BTN is asking Big Ten fans to let their cable companies know they want the network. They are also letting people know the BTN is definitely going to be on DirecTV.

    "There is an option out there," Klatt said. "I hope it doesn't come to battle of our public university telling our people where to shop, what to do," Peters said. "We're taking the optimistic approach."


    True and Valiant

    I also remember a game with Kansas when Cy (wore a huge suit then) went out to center field, squatted, and "pooped" a couple of chickens that had been dyed blue then chased them around.
    Quote Originally Posted by DJK15

    God I hope so, even if it's not the right thing to do, KF needs to do it.
    Victory before honor.

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    Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the BTN suffer the same fate of the failed attempt by the Minnesota Twins at launching their own TV network a few years ago. That network folded only after 2 or 3 months on the air...big reason why, lack of carriage.

    BTN isn't going to be able to survive on only DirecTV and a few "mom and pop", cable companies.



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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    I agree with you on that one.

    I would actually like to see the BTN succeed. It'd be quite irritating in the short run, but it would provide a precedent for a successful conference network, and hopefully other major conferences could do the same thing down the road. Almost anything would be a step up from the Big 12's current "TexasTexasTexasTexasOklahomaTexasTexasTexas" package. I'm sure even Nebraska would benefit from something like that.

    Buuuut, the fact of the matter remains- trying to take a fledgling channel and rank yourself right up there with ESPN is probably a bad idea, especially when the rest of the country doesn't give a crap about you, your conference, or your channel.


    Last edited by ornryactor; 07-17-2007 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Merged topics.
    True and Valiant

    I also remember a game with Kansas when Cy (wore a huge suit then) went out to center field, squatted, and "pooped" a couple of chickens that had been dyed blue then chased them around.
    Quote Originally Posted by DJK15

    God I hope so, even if it's not the right thing to do, KF needs to do it.
    Victory before honor.

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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by garn91 View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised to see the BTN suffer the same fate of the failed attempt by the Minnesota Twins at launching their own TV network a few years ago. That network folded only after 2 or 3 months on the air...big reason why, lack of carriage.

    BTN isn't going to be able to survive on only DirecTV and a few "mom and pop", cable companies.
    I think you're right the big ten network wont fly unless they can get all the cable companies to charges $1.10 per subscriber. Just putting it on a sports tier for fifty cents per month wont generate much money.

    I called mediacom and basically told them that if they charge me the $1.10 a month on the sports tier that the big ten wants, I would just drop the sports tier. I want the ten cents a month that their charging direct tv. Direct TV is advertising that you get the BTN without any additional charge..SWEET DEAL!



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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by CyBobby View Post

    Direct TV is advertising that you get the BTN without any additional charge..SWEET DEAL!
    That's because DirecTV is adding the BTN to their basic packages, that's roughly 16 million customers (i'm one of them) and because of DirecTV is adding BTN to their basic packages, the cable companies have zero leverage in negotiations with BTN.



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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by garn91 View Post

    BTN isn't going to be able to survive on only DirecTV and a few "mom and pop", cable companies.
    NFL network seems to be doing just fine, and it was the same way at first.


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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    NFL network seems to be doing just fine, and it was the same way at first.
    While I understand what you are saying, the NFL Network caters to a far larger audience than the Big 10 Network does.



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    Re: Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    Yeah OnryFactory you are completely right. I know and have shirt tail relatives that are big and I do mean big Nebraska fans and they hate the fact they only get on tv a few times a season.


    If Nebraska could go to the big ten they would be there tomorrow!


    Its all about the number of tv sets and the big 12 just doesnt have enough of them!!



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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    NFL network seems to be doing just fine, and it was the same way at first.
    Except it's yet another channel you can't get on MediaScum


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    Re: Big 10 Network already doomed to fail?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    NFL network seems to be doing just fine, and it was the same way at first.
    True, however, in addition to DirecTV, NFL Network is also on Dish Network (another 12-15 million customers) and several "large" cable compaines...Cox and Comcast come to mind.

    I'm not sure if there is precedence in the Big 10 battle, however, a federal judge ruled earlier this year that Comcast was free to move the NFL Network to their sports tier and with this ruling, i'm surprised that Time Warner, the nation's second largest cable provider, hasn't added NFL Network as Time Warner was demanding that they would only carry NFL Network if it was on a sports tier.



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    Re: Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    The Big 10 Network needs to realize that everyone doesn't want their precious channel. Heck, I bet B10 fans don't even care about 90% of the BTN...they just want it for football and basketball games.

    Paying $1.10 for the BTN is a joke. Only behind ESPN in cost per subscriber is laughable.

    The BTN caters to a very select group of individuals. Requiring it to be included in basic cable is just plain dumb. It fits perfectly into a Sports Tier package...that way people who actually want it, can pay for it.



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    Re: Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    Who would you rather watch? Purdue, Indiana, Illinois or watch USC, UCLA, Oregon State or watch Missouri, KState or watch Alabama, Auburn, LSU. In my book, BTN is on the bottom with the Mountain West.


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    Re: Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    Quote Originally Posted by CyBobby View Post
    Yeah OnryFactory you are completely right. I know and have shirt tail relatives that are big and I do mean big Nebraska fans and they hate the fact they only get on tv a few times a season.


    If Nebraska could go to the big ten they would be there tomorrow!


    Its all about the number of tv sets and the big 12 just doesnt have enough of them!!
    Lol, "OnryFactory"? That's a new one on me!

    Nebraska going to the Big Ten wasn't really my point, but you are kind of right about the Big 12 not having enough households. I"ve never understood how that can be, though, considering that of the six states with Big 12 schools, Iowa is the only one that has a team from another major conference in the same state. (You could maybe argue Colorado, but I don't think so.) In other words, all of Kansas is a Big 12 area; so is Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas. With three major programs in Texas (plus Baylor, which has tons of loyal alums) a majority of the state follows one of those three. All of the states except Iowa also have at least one major national city in them. When you look at all that, how do we not have the TV sets? We don't have Minneapolis or Chicago, but the Big Ten doesn't have DFWA, Houston, San Antonio, Omaha, Boulder or Kansas City.


    True and Valiant

    I also remember a game with Kansas when Cy (wore a huge suit then) went out to center field, squatted, and "pooped" a couple of chickens that had been dyed blue then chased them around.
    Quote Originally Posted by DJK15

    God I hope so, even if it's not the right thing to do, KF needs to do it.
    Victory before honor.

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    Re: Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    Quote Originally Posted by ornryactor View Post
    Lol, "OnryFactory"? That's a new one on me!

    Nebraska going to the Big Ten wasn't really my point, but you are kind of right about the Big 12 not having enough households. I"ve never understood how that can be, though, considering that of the six states with Big 12 schools, Iowa is the only one that has a team from another major conference in the same state. (You could maybe argue Colorado, but I don't think so.) In other words, all of Kansas is a Big 12 area; so is Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas. With three major programs in Texas (plus Baylor, which has tons of loyal alums) a majority of the state follows one of those three. All of the states except Iowa also have at least one major national city in them. When you look at all that, how do we not have the TV sets? We don't have Minneapolis or Chicago, but the Big Ten doesn't have DFWA, Houston, San Antonio, Omaha, Boulder or Kansas City.
    Omaha is not even in the top 50....

    Media Info Center

    But the big 10 11 of the top 50 markets.
    Big 12 7-8 of the top 50.


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    Re: Big Ten Network, Mediacom at impasse

    Quote Originally Posted by ornryactor View Post
    When you look at all that, how do we not have the TV sets? We don't have Minneapolis or Chicago, but the Big Ten doesn't have DFWA, Houston, San Antonio, Omaha, Boulder or Kansas City.
    Look at the population of the Big 12 states and compare them with the population of the Big 10 states and you will see why. A majority of the major cities like Chicago, Houston, DFW are pro-sports towns so it really boils down to overall state population as a major driving factor.

    Big 12 states:
    Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska

    Big 10 states:
    Iowa, Illinois, Pennsyvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin

    Add up the overall populations and its a runaway for the B10. You can see why the Texas schools have so much power in the Big 12...they control a lot of the TV sets.



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