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Customers tuning out after so many cable disputes

The cable and TV entertainment industries are starting to see a significant shift in consumer habits and spending. These changes can likely be attributed partly to technological advancements and a struggling economy, but a significant number of people are finding alternatives to having cable because of the ongoing and frustrating disputes between networks and cable providers.

These disputes may end up not only costing the companies a hefty chunk of change in legal expenses, but they may also end up contributing to the demise of cable TV services. People all across Colorado have opted to find alternatives to cable television, and the industry lost about 316,000 subscribers in one year alone. Some want to save some money while others prefer their drama be onscreen and not behind the scenes at cable and network companies. So just what are these contract disputes costing the companies?

Recently, networks have threatened to not renew contracts and release shows to cable providers as a power play in what ultimately is a dispute about money. In some cases, content providers believe they should be getting more money for their product. In other cases, a content carrier has required providers to make inappropriate changes in order to continue to be provided to consumers. 

It seems as though these disputes have gotten more common and bitterer in recent months. Companies are reaching out directly to consumers asking for their support in the battle for their money. Many cable customers have simply gotten fed up and cancelled cable TV subscriptions in favor of other methods such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and network websites where the content is provided at a much lower cost. 

There are completely valid and powerful reasons that companies get into a legal dispute and must defend their position in a courtroom. However, if these actions come at the expense of customers and a company's bottom line, going through a complex, lengthy and bitter litigation process may ultimately do more harm than good. Before any decision related to business disputes and legal concerns is made, it may be beneficial for business owners to speak with an attorney to weigh their options. 

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Tired of cable TV disputes, bills? More are cutting the cord," David Lazarus, Aug. 22, 2013

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