New York City area cable provider and ISP Cablevision is in a contract renewal fight with yet another content provider. This time, it’s ABC’s flagship broadcast station WABC that wants more money, and Cablevision has raised the stakes in the passive-aggressive public service announcement wars. They’ve redirected customers’ cable boxes to a special channel where a looped announcement plays, and have started a YouTube channel to get the word out to any non-customers who might happen to care.
Cablevision subscriber Gary told Consumerist what happened when he turned on his television recently:
Cablevision has apparently decided to play even harder with the ABC battle than they did with Scripps…. They’ve actually remotely changed the settings on home cable boxes (both of mine at home, and have confirmed this also with some friends) to go to channel 1999 when you power them on. What’s channel 1999? A looping video message very much in the same tone as what they ran on the Scripps channels during that whole debacle. I would expect that tone with the website etc, but I am AMAZED that they actually went as far as REMOTELY CHANGING SETTINGS ON YOUR BOX to force this issue down subscribers’ throats! I wonder how many complaints they will be getting about this……
Here’s that message, if you’re curious.