After the 30-minute special extolling the virtues of local television and of satellite dishes, in the interest of equal time, The Turner Report will present the advantages of cable over satellite:
-Cable services can be bundled with high-speed internet services at a discount.
-No extra charge for local channels
-Reception that is not affected by bad weather like satellite
-Additional outlets free of charge
-Strong local technical support located in your community.
Those are not actually my selling points for cable. They do not come from Cable One, nor do they come from Cox Communications.
Those reasons why cable is preferable to satellite come from Atlantic Broadband, the 16th biggest cable company in the United States. Atlantic Broadband is a relatively new entrant into cable television, but has quickly established itself. It was started by a Boston private equity firm ABRY Partners...the same ABRY Partners that owns controlling interest in Nexstar Broadcasting.
During the half-hour Nexstar infomercial COO Duane Lammers lambasted Cable One, because it is owned by corporate giant The Washington Post, which also owns Newsweek Magazine and other properties.
He made it sound as if the big, bad Washington Post was bringing all of its power down on tiny, courageous Nexstar. What Duane Lammers failed to mention was the large media portfolio owned by his bosses from ABRY Partners.
Among the other companies owned by ABRY are:
-Consolidated Theatres- a regional megaplex movie theater circuit
-Charleston Newspapers- publishers of both the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia.
-Muzak- a subscription music service
-Country Road Communications- a rural wireline telecom provider
-Network Communications- a leading North American publisher
-Citadel Communications- Owner and operator of leading radio station clusters in mid-sized markets.
-Sullivan Broadcasting Company- a leading operator of Fox-affiliated broadcast television stations in mid-sized cities.
-Hispanic Yellow Pages Network- Targets Hispanic areas across the U. S.
-Monitronics- A leading provider of security monitoring devices for residential and business customers.
-Connoisseur Communications- owner and operator of leading radio station clusters in small and mid-sized cities.
-Dolan Media Company- provides business information services to law, credit, finance, construction and commercial real estate industries.
At the same time that one ABRY company is telling customers in the Joplin area, plus customers in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, that cable companies are out to milk the public, cheat broadcast stations, and are inferior to satellite, another ABRY company is telling customers in the upper Midwest, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Miami, Fla., areas that cable is far superior to satellite.
Atlantic Broadband is not the only cable company owned by ABRY. According to the ABRY website, the investment firm also owns WideOpenWest, or WOW, which is even larger than Atlantic Broadband, ranking as the number 13 cable operator in the U. S., providing services in the suburbs of Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, and southeast Michigan.
Lammers did not tell the audience about Atlantic Broadband or WideOpenWest, and he certainly did not mention anything about either of those companies actually paying that penny per day price to local broadcasters for retransmission of their signals.
One last bit of irony...It wasn't long ago that the newscasts on the Nexstar stations in Joplin covered a staged protest by the local Echostar/DISH Network provider, targeting Cable One.
ABRY's website carries the following news release, issued Dec. 3, 2004, with a Johnstown, Pa., deadline: "Atlantic Broadband, the digital video and internet provider that began operating here in March, has issued a protest to Echostar, the $5.7 billion distributor of DISH Network satellite programming, saying it is misleading Pennsylvania consumers in a negative ad campaign aimed at cable TV operators."
For those who have forgotten, or who did not get the opportunity to see Nexstar's 30-minute infomercial, its title was "TV Cable Fable."
Aesop couldn't have told it better.