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Sunday, December 11th, 2016

FIGHT THE COMCAST

12

So I decided to write an e-mail to Comcast to express my displeasure with their decisions on the new Big Ten Network and also the NFL Network. They are trying to put both channels on their “sports tier”.

I was surprised when I received an e-mail reply tonight. But I wasn’t surprised that “Keith” the “Comcast Customer Care Specialist” did a little cut and paste job in his response. You’d think a “specialist” would be able to craft his own riposte. Instead I received a blah, blah, blah and an interesting non sequitur.

First though, here is my e-mail:

It’s ridiculous that you are putting the NFL Network on the sports
tier. If you had initially done that when the network did not broadcast
games, it would have been acceptable. But now that they do show games
you are putting it on a pay tier and it’s obvious it’s a money grab.
Also aggravating is that you are trying to put the Big Ten Network on a
pay tier. That would be acceptable for most of the country–but here in
the Midwest?

Are you trying to make people switch to Dish and DirecTv? If so I’ll
venture to say it’s working.

Now here is the response. He must have forgot to paste some pertinent information.

Thank you for contacting Comcast Cable. I apologize for the inconvience.

The Big Ten would like for us to offer their Big Ten Network as part of
our expanded basic package, which would increase costs to the majority
of our customers, including those who are not interested in receiving
the Big Ten conference games.

We want to offer the Big Ten Network in a way that is fair to all of our
customers – both to fans of Big Ten schools and other customers – the
majority of which are not Big Ten fans. We think that the best and
fairest way to bring the network to customers is to make it available as
part of our Sports Entertainment package in the eight-state Big Ten
region, and as an individual subscription package (similar to MLB Extra
Innings) for customers that are not located in these areas. That way,
Big Ten fans would be able to subscribe to the Big Ten network, while
the majority of our customers who are not Big Ten fans would not be
burdened by paying the high costs of their network.

The case involved our ability to offer the NFL Network on a digital
sports tier. We’re pleased that the NY Supreme Court ruled in Comcast’s
favor allowing us to move ahead with having the NFL Network on a Digital
Sports Tier. This allows our customers who are NFL fans to watch the NFL
Network, while those who aren’t NFL Fans won’t be burdened with extra
costs.

What?? So it was ok to put NFL Network on a regular package but now when they show actual games it goes on the pay tier? Whatever. I’ll be moving to a dish soon enough.

  • http://www.windycitysportsblog.com WindyCitySportsBlog.com

    I got the same reply when I called them and it was about the same as your email response. At least yours was typed in an email instead of trying to talk to an uneducated moron. Add the “we’ll be there from 1-6pm” and then showing up at 8pm when I moved into a new house.

    I love how they say, “We’re pleased that the NY Supreme Court ruled in our favour…”. So they’re pleased and we pay more. Ridiculous.

  • http://www.meaninglis.com Lis

    I just switched to directv last month. I’m pretty happy about it.

    W/ Comcast my bill was $80.00/month basic package no movie channels about 75 regular channels.

    Now I pay $50.00/month. I get 250 channels (including 5 ESPN channels and NFL Network), a better picture. It was a no-brainer Save $360.00 / yr, more channels, better quality picture.

    I have lost signal a couple times but it’s only been for a few minutes. Well worth the sacrifice (until I lose the signal during one of the Bears games).

    For the record I don’t have HDTV yet. So as far as HD signal I can’t comment. I am getting a 73″ TV in a couple weeks ;) I’m wondering what kind of picture I have when I bring that baby home.

  • PV

    Isn’t this also about the Big Ten’s inflated sense of self-importance? My understanding is they are charging a higher subscriber fee than perhaps warranted, and expecting everyone to fall all over themselves for girls’ volleyball – they have a huge package with ABC/ESPN for all the important football and basketball, so it’s not like I’m gonna miss Michigan-Ohio State over this. As much as I might enjoy the Lloyd Carr show, I won’t cry, for, as Coach Carr once said, “It’s not a perfect world.”

    And isn’t it possible that somewhere in this deal the NFL Network is leveraging the fact they are now showing games? I have a hard time believing they’re subscriber fees haven’t gone up since they first launched.

    I have no vested interest in defending Comcast – although I do have almost no problems with my service – but nor do I think either of these networks are vital. I’m not going to pay extra for either, and frankly, if it spares me from flipping to hear Bryant Gumbel croak through the Browns-Texans on a Thursday night in December, I’ll be better for it.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    frankly, if it spares me from flipping to hear Bryant Gumbel croak through the Browns-Texans on a Thursday night in December, I’ll be better for it.

    LOL. I was doing my Gumbel impersonation most of the day yesterday. It would start with “Mike Bell..runs up the middle…gets 4. Good play call there Cris? Why not pass? Let’s move on…(a la Real Sports)

    You make some good points PV. B10 make a decent case for themselves at bigtennetwork.com you’ll also find there some interesting stats about cable companies and the ratio of programming vs. subscriber fees.

    Just curious– how you can say that the NFL Network isn’t vital? If the Golf Channel is on the regular tier shouldn’t also then the NFL Network?

  • Schmidty

    Hey, easy on the Comcast bashing! You know that CN100 is still on the basic tier and you can see all the great sports programming on that channel, such as “Game of the Week” and their solid on-air teams. :)
    OK, off my soap box. I’m with you on being frustrated since, being an Illini fan, I do want to catch the B10 Network. However, I also know that PV’s info is correct…the B10 Network is trying to charge a ridiculous fee to carry them. And after having some conversations with them about job opportunities, I frankly am interested to find out who’s getting that money since it’s pretty clear the employees aren’t, LOL!
    PV’s deductive reasoning on the NFL Network is also right-on. They’re asking more money now that they’re showing games. So, bottom line, these decisions are based on what the networks are asking for in compensation. If it’s a reasonable cost for a nitch channel (NFL before games, Golf Channel, “O”) or something that’s a premium cost but appeal to a larger audience (ESPN), it will go on basic. Once the costs get too high to pass along to EVERY customer, Comcast is drawing the line. I, as a customer who is admittedly paying through the nose for Comcast, appreciate the fact they’re trying to save me money (though I’m sure my bill will go up anyway…don’t take this post as a tacit approval of Comcast!). In the end, I think Comcast will win the battle with the B10 Network.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Here’s a blurb from Boston.com on the case between NFL Net. and Comcast.

    The NFL sued in October after Comcast notified the league that it had decided to put the network on a sports tier with about 750,000 viewers, moving it from a digital tier seen by more than 7 million of its 24 million cable customers. A tier carries a specific type of programming and is available to customers at an additional price over the cost of basic programming.

    The NFL opposed the switch because under an agreement between the two companies, Comcast had to pay the league 55 cents per subscriber each month. With the loss of viewers, the NFL would earn significantly less money.

    My read into that is now that more people want the NFL Network, they could make more money by putting it on a tier and pay the NFL less.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    One more thing:

    Comcast’s sports tier has good stuff, like the NFL Network, NBA TV and CSTV. But Comcast’s extended basic lineup has the Golf Channel and Versus, both of which it owns. The BTN believes it will be more popular and relevant than many of the offerings on a standard 75-channel lineup.

  • PV

    I said the NFL Network wasn’t vital because I really didn’t watch it when I had it, they had second-rate games and supplemental programming I didn’t need. Obvioulsy, just a personal opinion.

    However, I just looked at this year’s schedule, and there’s a better slate - most importantly the Bears in Week 14, which I didn’t know. Do they allow local stations to pick up the feed?!?! If not, um, I might have to change my position on some of this. Like any good American, it’s not a problem until it affects me personally.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    Like ESPN, I read where local markets will get their teams games that run on NFLN. What station I have no idea.

  • PV

    Like ESPN, I read where local markets will get their teams games that run on NFLN. What station I have no idea.

    Phew. Now I can go back to that whole “I’m not paying for it” stance.

  • dhaab

    Schmidty, I don’t know what job you went after, but I just got hired as a T.D. and I’m making very good money, thank you. :)

  • http://www.windycitysportsblog.com WindyCitySportsBlog.com

    The primary qualification for anyone getting a job with Comcast is having a felony and just getting released from jail..

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