wow. Just wow. Yesterday of all days, ABC (via it's parent, Disney) decides to play hard ball with Cablevision and pull its programming from 3,000,000+ New York based customers and countless more tri-state (New Jersey and Connecticut) customers as well (CT customers could watch on their local CT affiliate station, but I'd suspect the average viewer within 50 miles of New York doesn't even know this exists)
And all of this on the DAY of the Academy Awards.
Let's assume for a moment I care about the Oscars. And let's assume others do. To be sure, less do than ever before. Less people want to be glued to their TV screens to watch a bunch of self-entitled, affected and overpayed egotists bask in their artificially created glory (kind of sounds like social media experts except for the overpayed part, right?)
The fact remains, Oscar is still part of the holy trinity of programming (Super Bowl, Grammy's and Academy Awards) and so - for now - it still matters.
And so throughout the day on Sunday, Cablevision runs it's propoganda on channels 7 and 707 (HD) with its puppy-dog voiceover looking for sympathy and support. Truth be told, Cablevision's control of the pipes gave it a slightly unfair advantage over ABC, that had to resort to abc.com for it's messaging and full page ads in the newspapers (competing with Toyota no doubt).
That said, Cablevision is the boy that cried wolf. Just a few weeks ago, there was a similar spat with Food Network and HGTV over rights, fees or other irrelevant contratual items that really only affect us normal viewers insofar that it costs us more money for mediocre programming.
At the end of the day, Cablevision might own the pipes, but ABC owns the content and ultimately, if you're a fanboy of Lost or a devotee of Dancing with the D-listers or The Spatchelor, where else are you going to go?
Long story short, there was the usual weekend outrage on Facebook, blogs, Twitter and probably chatroulette (I was streaming the Awards show live on chatroulette all night) and as it transpires, 15 minutes into the show, ABC came back online...well not, online online, but you know what I mean. Pretty sure there was no notifications (push or otherwise to iPhones), FB updates or tweets from the parent companies to actually communicate with their customers and let them know. But whatever.
Incidentally, I'm fairly certain all this happened BEFORE the Disney movie, Up, was "Up" for their award(s).
From a PR standpoint (and I'm no PR hack), yesterday was another embarrassing nail in traditional media's desperate coffin. This - combined with the whole Leno-Coco deathmatch, not to menion the training wheels coming off Hulu's brandwagon (as discussed on last night's Beancast) - signifies an intensification in the demise of TV as we knew it. I'd actually be curious to get some PR professional's opines on who the big loser or winner was in the People vs Cablevision and ABC...
All things being equal, ABC probably should have stayed dark, because the ceremony kinda sucked. It was way awkward with its own Kanye moment of Zen, Stiller singing the Blues, Sigourney weaver almost flashing and two highly unfunny co-hosts that clearly demonstrated how out of touch Hollywood has become with the little people.
Final Grade: D- AKA Up (Yours)
PS On a book related note, this is another example of companies putting their customers last. If ever there was a need to Flip the Funnel, this would the time...as opposed to flipping their customers the bird.