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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Insight Adds NFL Network Games

Hey, Insight cable customers, are you ready for some football?
In a late-night deal reached Tuesday night, Insight Communications has picked up the NFL Network games, starting with the Bengals-Ravens game at 8 p.m. Thursday. Insight’s digital-level customers will see the game on Channel 547, in addition to the simulcast on WLWT-TV (Channel 5).
So when will Time Warner ever pick it up? Or ESPNU?
Insight, which has 81,000 Northern Kentucky customers, had balked at paying a surcharge for weekly games when it added the 24-hour channel earlier this year. (Insight was one of the first cable operators to pick up the NFL Network.)
The Insight deal covers all of its systems in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The NFL Network premiered its eight-week schedule of Thursday and Saturday night games on Thanksgiving.
Insight is the only area cable system to provide the NFL Network games. (It also has ESPNU too) The NFL Network also is available on satellite dishes.
The NFL doesn't have any agreements with Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable operator which serves Cincinnati and most of southwest Ohio. Time Warner also has refused to add ESPNU, the college sports channel which has exclusive rights to the UC-XU Crosstown Shootout on Dec. 13. Which means most of us won’t see it.
When will Time Warner wake up and get with it?

This Just In

Hey, this just in: Time Warner spokesman Karen Baxter has offered this explanation of the NFL Network situation:
"Time Warner Cable wants to make the NFL Network available to all of its customers, sports fans and non-sports fans alike. We believe the best way to do this is to offer the NFL Network as part of a sports package, similar to the way the Network has been offered to many Adelphia (Digital Plus Tier) and Comcast customers. This is the fairest approach for our customers, gauranteeing sports fans access to this higher-priced, targeted programming, while not requiring all of our customers to pay for it. The NFL Network insists all of our customers pay for the Network, regardless of their interest in its programming. While its programming may be compelling to some customers. the NFL Network belongs in a sports package based on the targeted nature of its programming, the limited number of live professional games, and its expensive price tag...
"We strive to control the spiraling costs of expensive programming networks, particularly those of high-priced niche networks. The NFL Network plans to introduce eight live games on its network and wants a per customer increase of 250%. That's just not acceptable.
"We understand how important this is for many of our customers. Many of us at Time Warner Cable are big football fans too, and we want to make the NFL Network available as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the NFL has refused our offer to bring their Network to our customers."
--Karen Baxter, Public Affairs Director, Time Warner Cable

Burning question
So if you ran Time Warner here, what would you do with the NFL Network? Make it a basic digital channel for everyone? Insist on it being an extra-pay sports tier? And what would you do about ESPNU? And what other channels would you pick up?


at 11/29/2006 11:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never. My dish went up last week. Picture is perfect (no pixelization)and the audio is actually in time with the moving lips. BRILLIANT!!!!

I bundled thru Cinti Bell and saved close to $100 a month.

at 11/29/2006 12:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word inside the Fox 19 camp is that Sheila Gray has breast cancer...first spotted in a Buddy19 check-up, a monthly breast self-examination that WXIX encourages its female viewers to conduct on the 19th of the month.

at 11/29/2006 12:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earth to 9News -- finding a gas can and a clock on the side of a highway does not constitute a "bomb threat." Someone makes a bomb threat.

at 11/29/2006 1:04 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anonymous at 12:19 p.m:
It's not breast cancer, or any form of cancer, I'm told. I asked Sheila yesterday, and to her boss, and each said it was not cancer, and not life-threatening. Sheila says she'll talk about it before the end of the year, so stay tuned. For now, I trust she's telling the truth, and I'm willing to give her some privacy.

at 11/29/2006 1:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time Warner wont carry any channels that the people who pay the outrageous prices that keep them in business want. i am unable to get a dish because of the terrain ie trees in my neighbor hood which are my neighbors so i cant trim them or cut them so i am stuck with cable :(

at 11/29/2006 1:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Time Warner. Sure the NFL Network is targeted. So is the Food Network... and HGTV. Do you have a "Home Fixer Up Pkg" too? I never watch those two channels, so why not make it a pkg like you say the NFL Network should be in. Once again, your "excuse" in this is lame.

at 11/29/2006 3:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why won't the NFL allow Time Warner to offer their network as part of a sports tier? They know few people will pay extra just for 8 games. The NFL is one of the most profitable organizations in the world and they intend to keep it that way. The same question can be asked of ESPN with regard to ESPNU. The answer's the same too.

at 11/29/2006 3:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's corporate based and not a local decision.

I wish TWC would carry the Outdoor Life Network (or whatever their name is now) who carry the exclusive nightly NHL hockey games. As such, we are stuck with FoxSportsOhio coverage of the BlueJackets.

One beef about FoxSportsNetwork. I would love to see WGN or WTBS announcers during AWAY Reds games. Warner claims Major League Baseball rules for blacking out WGN or WTBS. Those apply only to HOME games. Being stuck with George Grande insults my intelligence.

Lastly..when are we TWC consumers going to get rebated for the poor digitized and time delayed cable transmission?

Get an answer for that John...please!

at 11/29/2006 3:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well sportsfans, the first time I have EVER agreed with TimeWarner. Although they still refuse to offer Logo or similar programming on any tier other than pay-per-view. Which is why I dumped them and went to DirectTV.

at 11/29/2006 4:08 PM Blogger Aviator said...

Lets face it, TWC still blows! The monopoly known as Time Warner Cable will continue. Thier digital service is terrible, thier customer service is 100x worse. And we customers have to sell our first born to pay the darn bill.

at 11/29/2006 4:37 PM Blogger M&M said...

If TWC uses the excuse that customers shouldn't have to pay for NFL network, then how do you explain Golf Channel on basic. Instead they want to put NFL network in a tier with other channels not even sports junkies want to watch. (Fox Sports Pacific carries events that don't even make the cut on ESPNU at 3am.) Putting NFL net with these channels is in conflict to the statement that they don't want customers paying for networks they are not interested in viewing.

at 11/29/2006 5:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I hear some big cuts have come today at Clear Channel in Cincinnati. There is a scoop for ya!

at 11/29/2006 5:39 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Thanks! I'm trying to track down info now. Hear that two people from 'EBN have been axed, among others.

at 11/29/2006 6:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem for the NFL network seems to be that the most vocal fans will get to see the games on a local station anyway without the NFL network. Kinda cuts down on outrage factor.
I think if TWC wants to put stuff on a tier, they should offer al a carte. but of course they aren't ever going to do that. They want non sports fans to keep shelling out about $30/year just for ESPN.

at 11/29/2006 7:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 12:37, you really missed a classic on Channel 5 tonight at 6pm

They went to Sky5 over I-71 where the "traffic twerp" told us traffic was running smooth over the scene where the bomb (?) was "detonated".

Excuse me, but a detonation probably would have left a hole in the highway.

Earth to Channel 5: The device was "disarmed" on the highway, not detonated. Hire a real newsman to fly in your bird if you want some credibility. And tell your anchorman that the pink tie with a brown suit looked like crap.

at 11/29/2006 7:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

jim o briens final day is friday. He will be given a sendoff to the viewers at 6

at 11/29/2006 9:41 PM Blogger Brad said...

How about adding ESPNU or NFL Network to basic cable? Digital cable is a rip off.

at 11/30/2006 12:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. I have been quiet long enough. Being a FORMER employee of Time Warner Cable, the dreaded department people mention here the most, customer service. First give the people at TW in the customer service department a break. I know if you have a problem you have a long hold time, so does everyone else. TW recently merged offices with Cincinnati and Dayton so depending on the time of day you are calling the may have anywhere from 60 or more callers waiting besides you. Also to the people like Anon 11:38am saying that they saved close to $100 a month for bundled service with Cincinnati Bell, COOL!, Good for you, watch it though that price may be good for only 12 months and then go up to the full rate of over $140. I also have problems like everyone else with pixelation and audio break up on that I agree that as consumers we should DEMAND some sort of rebate from Time Warner for the poor service. Or like other people have already done just leave TW alltogether. If enough people leave TW they would be FORCED to improve the signal.

As for ESPNU and NFL Network. I sadly say keep dreaming. TW will just keep coming up with lame excuses as to why they cannot carry the channels either it be something on the NFL's part, be it on ESPN's part. But when it comes down to it like Insight has shown TW yet again that IF they really wanted the channels something could be worked out.

at 11/30/2006 8:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight...

Jim O'Brian gets a big send-off at 6 Friday to "celebrate" getting fired.

Hey, if that what it takes to get a big hug from Shari P, FIRE ME..FIRE ME.

at 11/30/2006 12:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the add in the paper? TW runs a freaking ad in the paper claiming they are running the game tonight for Bengals fans, as if they are telling people they care. Whatever!!! They didn't pay NFL network for the game; channel 5 did! And yet, TW boasts they look out for the Bengal fans by carrying the game. TW hasn't done anything at all! TW sucks!!!!!!!!!!!

at 11/30/2006 2:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey could i get a hug from sheree too? she's a cutie! i think sandra has put on a little weight? or maybe my eyes deceive me. i'm glad shelia gray is back at her usual post. but i did enjoy seeing kimberly moening and caroline, she's got great legs! i'm curious to know how the local stations did on november sweeps.

at 11/30/2006 6:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

re anon 11/30/2006 12:10 PM

Thats incredible! TW carries tonights Bengals game because they have and agreement with WLWT that requires them to carry the station. They couldn't not carry the game if they wanted to. Plus its available free whether you have TW or not.

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