Posts tagged ‘Competition’

09/17/2011

Cable TV Failed To Show Football Game

One would think Charter Communications, the Cable TV monopoly in Madison, would have carried the football game on Sat. Sep. 17 between the 7th ranked University of Wisconsin Badgers and Northern Illinois, but the game was not on any of the 50 Basic Service stations, the 56 on Expanded Service, or any of the 54 on Digital View Plus, even though we subscribers give Charter plenty of money each month to provide good service.

So what was on Cable at 2:30 p.m. instead? Their lineup included seven football games, including none we wanted to watch: 1) Versus carried Texas Tech and New Mexico; 2) Fox showed Colorado St. v Colorado; 3) ESPN went with Texas and UCLA; 4) CBS broadcast Tennessee v Florida; 5) NBC had Notre Dame and Michigan St.; 6) ABC announced Nebraska and Washington; and 7) the Big Ten Network chose Minnesota and Miami of Ohio. If I had purchased cable’s Sports View package, and spent even more money, Northwestern v Army was on CBS Sport Network, and Virginia v North Carolina was on ESPNU.

Why does Cable TV do this? When will they ever learn that our interest in a local football team, does not translate into a general desire to watch whatever game they decide to give us. Like the vast majority in Wisconsin, I turned the TV off, and had to watch the Badger game on my laptop through an online stream of ESPN-3. When will advertisers learn the vast majority of people watching most games, are just fans of the two teams on the field.

Although the cable monopoly promotes itself as a wonderful carrier by advertising over 100 stations to choose from, the number of channels makes no difference, if they show only filler programming no one wants to watch. Cable TV could be so much better if the people of Wisconsin huddled up, went on offense, put Cable on defense, and pressured them to change their lineup. We should be able to stop them from calling all the plays. We should be able to move the ball in the direction we want it to go, by collectively forcing them to show us the games we want to watch.

07/22/2011

Airline Travel Changed Over The Years

I had to fly out West for a wedding this week, and it reminded me of how commercial flying has changed significantly, since 2001 when the 911 security measures were implemented, and the late 1970s, when the airline industry was deregulated.

40 years ago, only a handful of large carriers, like United and American, monopolized the air. Now, many companies make flying competitive, a change for the good.

In the past, flights were booked through local travel agents. Now, everyone buys online. No longer do we see passengers running through airports, 10 minutes before departure, scrambling around at the last second to get onboard. Those days are gone. Today, we go through the dreaded airport security. You know the drill. Take off your shoes. Empty your pockets. The laptop goes in a separate bin. Be prepared for a body scan, or maybe a pat down. So much for the friendly skies; say hello to the airport security rent-a-cops.

In the old days, bags were checked and sent into the cargo hold, as only a few stuffy businessmen carried briefcases on board. Now, everyone packs light. Almost no one pays extra to check a bag.

Before deregulation, planes would often leave half full. Today, every seat is taken, as the airlines enlist volunteers to stay behind, because they overbooked. It’s crowded, but much more efficient.

Travel seemed to be much more of a celebration 40 years ago. It seemed like there was always at least one party in flight. People drank alcohol more often, probably because airlines gave it away to create a festive atmosphere. Now, we quietly sit and watch TV.

In the day, flight attendants, known as stewardesses, were young pretty females, forced to adhere to weight restrictions. Now, Hugh Heffner’s playboy days are over. Gay men now serve the drinks.

Although deregulation pushed ticket prices down, it also destroyed the food service. You might get coffee now, or a soft drink, but descent food? Forget about it. On a Soviet Aeroflot flight in 1983, as I boarded in Moscow, they gave me a bag lunch, and I remember thinking that was bad. Now, I am not so sure.