Topf: A message from WNWO to Buckeye subscribersWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
If you are a Buckeye CableSystem subscriber, no doubt you have noticed that Buckeye is no longer carrying WNWO (NBC).
Perhaps you have also seen some of Buckeye’s advertisements and statements attempting to portray this event in emotional terms, denigrating the top-notch news professionals that strive every day to keep you informed and placing blame on WNWO and its owner for Buckeye’s failure to provide this popular station to their subscribers.
Frankly, as the general manager of WNWO, I believe all of this overdramatic rhetoric and name-calling by Buckeye is neither relevant nor productive and thought you would prefer to understand what is really going on here and what you can do to have input into the situation.
Quite simply, this is nothing more than the failure of parties to a business negotiation to reach agreement on the price to be paid by Buckeye for the right to carry WNWO and resell it to its subscribers. No different than, for example, a grocery store negotiating with a food manufacturer over the price to be paid for a product they would like to include in their store for sale to their customers.
Although Buckeye would like you to believe that the price we are asking is too high, based on the price they pay for much of their programming – not just the local stations, but also the cable channels they carry with far fewer viewers than WNWO – we think the pricing is very fair.
Broadcast stations in Toledo account for around 50 percent of all television viewing, but it is estimated receive less than 10 percent of the amount that cable companies like Buckeye pay to acquire programming. We don’t think this is right and are simply asking to be paid closer to the amount that we deserve based on the popularity of our programming. Buckeye apparently disagrees and while we certainly respect their right to do so, the facts simply don’t support their position.
As a WNWO viewer and a Buckeye subscriber, you probably don’t want or need to know the details of these private negotiations. What I believe you do need to know, however, is that just like a grocery store has competitors, so does Buckeye. In this case, those competitors are AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network and DirecTV. Each of those companies provides a similar video product to Buckeye, often for less money. And, significantly, each of Buckeye’s competitors is carrying WNWO. Apparently only Buckeye thinks the price being charged by WNWO is too high.
Buckeye wants you to blame WNWO for its failure to carry the station. I, however, am not asking you to blame anyone. Rather, I am simply asking you to decide if you are willing to remain a customer of Buckeye even though they now provide a clearly inferior service.
WNWO brings you some of the most popular programming on television: Sunday Night Football, NFL playoff games, “The Voice” (which returns in February), “The Biggest Loser,” the 2014 Olympics (which begin in fewer than 50 days), not to mention our live, local news. You can watch this programming on U-Verse, Dish and DirecTV, but you cannot watch it on Buckeye.
I hope you value our programming, even if Buckeye Cable does not. Ironically Buckeye has been telling you about ways to get some of WNWO’s programming even if they aren’t carrying it. But do you really want to watch the programming on your computer rather than your television and do you really want to watch programming tomorrow that your friends are watching today? Buckeye correctly notes that other ways to get WNWO exist, but the best way is to simply get it from one their competitors. Not surprisingly, this is something Buckeye fails to mention.
I would like nothing more than to reach agreement with Buckeye, but it doesn’t appear that is going to happen, and I apologize for the inconvenience that you are suffering due to Buckeye’s failure to carry WNWO.
I have been asked by many people what they can do to impact the situation and the answer I give to each of them is to contact Buckeye and let them know that you value WNWO and its programming. It is that simple. Let Buckeye know that you will NOT continue to subscribe to a service that doesn’t carry one of the most popular channels out there.
I am not suggesting that you should blame Buckeye for any of this, just that you should let them know that you will not remain as their customer when they no longer have a product — WNWO and its top-notch programming — that is valuable to you and available from all of their many competitors.
Buckeye can be reached at (419) 724-9800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Topf is president and CEO of WNWO-TV.