Leaks: "Time Warner Cable Vs NFL Network" Customer Retention Document

Time Warner Cable is, like Comcast, currently warring with the NFL network over who should pay for the network. Time Warner, like Comcast, says the NFL channel should be placed on a pay tier so that only the fans who want to watch the games will have to pay the $100 million dollars its going to cost Time Warner to carry the channel.

NFL says:

“Time Warner wants the network on a sports tier — where fans would have to pay extra,” he said. “That’s not something we’re willing to do — have our fans exploited for Time Warner’s profits.

In the meantime, a little bird showed us the customer retention document that TWC CSRs are reading from when you call to complain.

Nothing too scandalous: Basically TWC wants their CSRs to remind you that you can watch your home team’s games without the NFL network because they’ll be broadcast locally. They also put the blame squarely on the NFL. From their Q&A script:

I don’t care just about my home team. I want to watch all 8 games the NFL Network is going to show- they’re planning on showing the best of the NFL season!

It’s unfortunate because these 8 games were free to you before the NFL moved them to NFL Network. We want to offer the NFL Network to all TWC customers today. Right now, the NFL is demanding unfair terms that would result in an unfair deal for TWC and you. TWC supports football and wants to reach an agreement with the NFL Network that provides the greatest benefit to you.

TWC and the NFL Network are two big companies, why can’t you work it out?

You bring up a valid question. The NFL Network has refused our offer. Right now, they want to charge TWC and every customer a high price for eight regular season games. TWC is committed to providing all customers offers that are a good value and will resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, if you are in the local broadcast area of your home team, you’ll be able to see your local team games on CBS, FOX, NBC or ESPN even when the game is shown on the NFL network.

Then NFL and TWC need to work this out, the stalemate is bad for consumers.

Time Warner Cable – NFL Network Response (PDF)

Time Warner, NFL Network remain at odds [Caller-Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. gibsonic says:

    i personally won’t be watching much, if any NFL football this fall anyway. Haven’t for the past couple of seasons.

    College football is better, but if only they could get a real playoff system figured out.

  2. browngt5 says:

    The NFL acts like they are the victim in this situation, when, in fact, they are the perpetrator. They simply smelled an opportunity to make more money off of their fans by creating the NFL Network, whose cost will invariably be paid by the fans regardless if it initially comes out of the pockets of the cable/satellite companies or the other networks who broadcast games.

  3. Cowboys_fan says:

    It seems the NFL is trying to move toward a PPV system, like UFC. Eventually we’ll have to pay to see any game, if the NFL gets it’s way. This is gonna send shivers up my spine but, I agree with TWC and Comcast. I never thought I would say that :p

  4. Murph1908 says:

    The reason the NFL wants so much money for the channel is because they can’t get advertising for it. Ever keep that channel on for more than an hour during their non-event programming? You get the same promos for their own shows 2 times per break. If I had to listen to, “Spent all Sunday watching games on the tube (spent all Sunday watching games on the tube). But missed 85, and there’s nothing you could do” one more dog mad time, I’d have shoved my remote through my eye socket. This year, they have a new repetitive commercial, so says my friend with DirecTV. Thankfully, Comcast has spared me from the torture.

  5. DashTheHand says:

    Maybe if they weren’t paying their players ridiculous salaries to play a game, the teams might be able to come up with the ‘100m’ the NFL is estimating the cost to be.

  6. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Cowboys_fan: Yeah if they really want to kill off the sport thats a great way to do it. Sure theres the rabid 20% or so who will pay but for the rest? Piss off I am not paying extra for a game I casually watch anyway. Maybe Basketball will get the same idea? I hate basketball and would welcome the demise of a boring game.

  7. iMike says:

    @gibsonic: +1

  8. headon says:

    you’ll be able to watch all your favorite NFL stars on Court TV soon

  9. Starfury says:

    There are lots of things I’d rather do with my free time than watch overpaid steroid pumping athletes play sports. I don’t watch the free games and won’t pay extra for it on cable.

    What I’d like to see is the ability to pick/choose the stations I want to watch. I’m sure I could get by with maybe 20 channels.

  10. clarient says:

    Only problem is not everybody loves their home team. I am diehard Steelers fan and I live in the middle of TEXAS. How often do I get to see my babies play? NEVER! I have to listen to Pittsburgh radio broadcasts via the internet and watch the real-time scores on ESPN! BOO to the NFL Network!

  11. y2julio says:

    If TWC fails and does not stand up to the NFL and they start charging me for this channel I will be canceling and getting satellite.

  12. hoo_foot says:

    I feel dirty for saying this, but…I agree with Time Warner. I have a half dozen sports channels on my basic cable that I never watch. Every time Comcast adds another sports channel to my line up, my cable bill goes up another dollar. One more rate increase and I’m cancelling forever.

    Let the minority of consumers who want another overpriced sports channel order and pay for it as an extra.

  13. shertzerj says:

    Wait – so somebody out there thinks that BECAUSE they’re two big companies, they should be able to work this out?

  14. emjsea says:

    Yeah, I’m getting pretty tired of subsidizing sports channels that I never watch and have absolutely no desire to watch. Let the fans of sports pay for it.

  15. rbf2000 says:

    The worst part is the the NFL channel, to my knowledge, is not even in HD. Truly, the only team I care about are the Redskins (don’t laugh), and I will get them in HD on my local channels for free.

    I’m glad Comcast is not dispersing the costs amongst all its customers, I wouldn’t pay extra for a channel to watch teams that I don’t want to watch in standard definition…

  16. doormat says:

    Give it 10 years, you’ll get two football games a week on Sunday per league (2 NFC, 2 AFC) and a Monday night game, and the rest of the games will be on multiple NFL Network channels. And it’ll cost you $300/season. The NFL is making their own “Sunday Ticket” to sell to cable and satellite companies. And congress wont step in to revoke the NFL’s anti-trust exemption. Shame.

  17. Venkman says:

    I live in LA where we have no home team… That local market BS is twice the slap in the face here.

    I’m very seriously considering switching to DTV for the Sunday Ticket– TWC has been nothing but a pain in the ass for me, and though DTV is an inferior product, I’ve just about had it with these a-holes.

    I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but I actually miss comcast.

  18. The Walking Eye says:

    @doormat: They have Sunday Ticket and it’s an exclusive deal with DirecTV. The anti-trust exemption, I think, works better for the NFL than otherwise. Their exempt from the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, which allows them to negotiate a package for all teams to be shown on certain channels. If they didn’t have that, each team would need to negotiate seperately and most teams would end up with local only coverage, which would not be in the best interests of the league.

  19. The Walking Eye says:

    @The Walking Eye: Oops, disregard the Sunday Ticket thing, that was a brain fart comprehension problem.

  20. @VENKMAN: I live in LA where we have no home team…

    Did the Saints move from New Orleans while I wasn’t looking? You may not like them, but you do have a team in Louisiana…

  21. Lazlo Nibble says:

    @Murph1908: Advertising, during football games? What on earth are you talking about? There’s no advertising during football games, except during the halftime break!

    …oh, you mean American football. Nevermind.

  22. bdgbill says:

    I agree with Time Warner also.

    I have never liked sports and certainly do not want to pay a penny for another sports channel I will never watch. If I was a sports fan I would be currently boycotting the NFL over the Michael Vick dog torturing affair.

    I also resent the fact that I pay for the shopping channels, religous channels, spanish channels, BET, etc.

    My cable provider loves to brag about “200 digital channels” but when I strip off the cannels that I never watch, I’m left with about 35.

  23. theblackdog says:

    Comcast won’t broadcast my team down here anyway (I live in Redskins country, but am a Ravens fan) but I get to hear Ravens commentary every week on Sirius, so it balances out a bit.

    Besides, I’m not getting cable when I move :-D

  24. lestat730 says:

    I’m glad I personally could care less about football and all pro sports for that matter.

  25. mac-phisto says:

    supposedly, directv loses its exclusive rights to sunday ticket next year, at which point any smart cable co. will probably snag the rights.

    if i were twc, i’d tell them to get bent. it seems that everyone in sports is trying to follow suit with steinbrenner’s move to create YES, & frankly i think it sucks.

    dear NFL (NBA, MLB, etc.): the more restrictions you place on viewership of your product, the less popular your product is going to be. considering your cash cow is licensing & merchandising, i would think you’d go out of your way to increase viewership wherever possible without tapping the act of home viewership as a viable revenue stream.

    but hey, what do i know? i’m just one of the millions of americans who used to watch pro football, who used to watch major league baseball, who used to watch basketball before league managers began showing their gross inability to manage so much as a hot dog stand.

    that’s alright. i can still catch a college football game cheap, minor league is just as fun as major league, & i’d rather play basketball than watch it any day.

  26. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    I like football but I’ve never sided with the NFL on this and I just realized the best reason: IT’S ONLY 8 GAMES PEOPLE! Who cares?

  27. randomizer9 says:

    I care because the Dallas Cowboys are playing in 2 of those 8 games. The bottom line is that the NFL is trying to get people to pay for something that used to be free.

    Those eight games are also late in the season, so they may have playoff implications and thus, be games that fans in general might be more inclined to watch. I think it sucks that the NFL is slowly going to pay-per-view.

  28. Buckler says:

    I’m with TWC and Comcast on this one. Personally, I’m not a sports fan, and I certainly have no plans to watch any football whatsoever. It irks me that customers such as myself are expected to foot the bill for something we neither need nor want, and the same goes for shop-at-home channels, Spanish-language programming, religious broadcasts and several others. Oh A La Carte pricing, where art thou?

  29. drjayphd says:

    @DashTheHand: Actually, NFL average salaries aren’t nearly on the scale of, say, NBA salaries. Can’t find the median numbers to take care of those outliers (hi Kevin Garnett!) but the NFL’s probably about 1/3 of the NBA. For now, at least…

  30. mcrbpc says:

    @BaysideWrestling: Yeah, but there’s no home team in Los Angeles.

  31. whydidnt says:

    Well, I’m a sports fan, an NFL fan as a matter of fact and I HATE the cable companies. However, in this case the Cable Cos. are right to hold the line. It’s just a money grab by the NFL pure and simple. Incidentally, the NFL network is already available on both Dish and DirecTV so if you leave cable because they agree to carry the NFL network, you’ll be getting, and paying for it anyway.

  32. @rbf2000: Actually, the NFL Network is simulcast in HD, it’s just that most cable companies lack the bandwidth to provide it as such.

    @mac-phisto: The contract for Sunday Ticket expires in 2010. DirecTV paid $700 million for that contract. If TWC or Comcast want to wrestle that away from DTV, then they’ll probably have to do some joint bidding through inDemand as they have done on MLB Extra Innings. Though DTV will probably do whatever it takes to keep this content exclusive.

  33. Trojan69 says:

    Two points.

    1) The Big Ten conference is attempting the same garbage with the cable cos. They expect all basic tier customers to pay for a very few contests of interest. So far, the Big Ten is getting its butt handed to them.

    2) Where were these cable companies in standing up against the proliferation of esoteric and marginal offerings/networks that led to an explosion in rates for basic services? Why should I pay for friggin O and GSN and such if I never, ever, watch them? We are all paying for dozens of these channels.

    I became a DirecTV customer and haven’t regretted it. If I want to watch the Cowboys, I can pay for it. If you want to watch the Cowboys, YOU can pay for it.

  34. yoyomother says:

    Doesn’t this bring up a bigger issue? I like sports, I watch sports. I hate MTV, Style, Lifetime, Oxygen, CMT, Bravo, VH1, all spanish channels, Home and Garden, Food Network, the list goes on and on. Why am I paying for these channels to be on? Let the sports fans pay for the sports? Let the women pay for Oxygen! Let the pre-teens pay for MTV! Let the fatties pay for Food Network!
    If TWC wins this case, everyone should be DEMANDING to only pay for the channels they want. Which means people will only be paying for about 10 channels max.

  35. zundian says:

    The only problem with that, YOYOMOTHER, is that the sports channels charge the cable companies far far more for carriage than do the other channels (MTV excluded) you mentioned. If all the sports channels were put into a tier and made separate from the normal cable channels, I’m pretty sure all non-sport s subscribers bills would go down around 45%.

    I’d be more than happy to pay 45% less, but I doubt you’d want to pay the extra amount to get the sports tier.

  36. yoyomother says:

    The point is that it’s hypocritical to single out that you don’t want to pay for sports. I don’t care how much the Style network charges – I don’t want it. If I don’t want it, I shouldn’t have to be forced into paying for it. Isn’t that what most people’s argument is?
    I think we can all agree that what we want is pro-rated cable service.

  37. paperairplane says:

    Count me in as against TWC. I would gladly pay an extra $10/month from August to January to gain the replays, extra coverage and out of area games. This is premium content, fine. Many people pay extra to watch the Sopranos.