HDNet vs Time Warner Imbroglio Over Tiers, Not Fees

May 28, 2009

When the HDNet vs Time Warner situation broke, it was assumed in many quarters that the dispute in some way was linked to the licensing fees associated with programming. This is often a battlefield between content providers and cable companies, with Viacom being a recent example of this trend. That seems to not be the case with HDNet. I’ll ironically link over to the OC Register to find out what the nature of the problems are:

But according to HDNet owner Mark Cuban (yes, he’s also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks), the deal wasn’t about the usual increase in carriage fees, which is the money companies pay per subscriber to offer a network’s TV channels. (Remember the whole Viacom fiasco when Viacom’s fee increase nearly resulted in the loss of Jon Stewart, Sponge Bob and MTV?)

“No, the exact opposite. We cut the fees considerably,” said Cuban, via e-mail.

Interestingly, Cuban says he was trying to get HDNet to become part of Time Warner’s digital basic cable package so that all customers could access the channel. HDNet Movies would remain on the special HD tier. The new deal would be “considerably less than what they were paying to have both on the (HD) tier,” he said.

Cuban looks to have been making a play to make his HDNet channel a more mainstream outlet on Time Warner’s system. The lower tier would mean a bigger subscriber base, which would be good for K-1, Sengoku, Dream, MFC , XFC and other MMA prgramming on the channel by virtue of more eyeballs. The fallout already seems to be taking place in the battle between the two, as HDNet has already been yanked from systems in Orange County, California ahead of the end of the month mandate from Time Warner.

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