CBS dropped

What you need to know

  • CBS and DirecTV couldn't reach an agreement on a new deal.
  • So DirecTV "dropped" CBS.
  • And CBS would really like you to complain about it.

We've reached Day 672 (plus or minus) of the war between CBS Corp. and, well, a lot of folks. So many, in fact, that I haven't really bothered to find out who all's fighting. Because we've been here before, and we'll undoubtedly find ourselves here yet again in the future.

And it's not exactly complicated.

See, a company like CBS makes shows. And then it sells the rights to show those shows to other companies that get to broadcast (or re-broadcast, but stay with me) those shows on their own services. When your local cable company shows you things on CBS that aren't your local TV station? That's what we're talking about. It's like this for CBS, or ABC, or NBC or Fox — whomever. The letters may change, but the basic principles remain the same.

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Every now and then those contracts come up for renewal. And, again, the basic principles are the same. CBS wants the companies to which it is selling its content to pay more money for that content. The companies buying the content to show to you may not want to pay as many for it.

And that's when we start to see warnings flash on the screen. That we'll lose those channels on a certain date. And if we want to keep those channels, we'll need to call and write letters and yell from the rooftops that we really want to keep those channels and please don't take them away from us because we just don't know what we're going to do.

It's 2019. This ruse doesn't work anymore.

The simple fact is this: CBS (and NBC and ABC — which is Disney — and Fox) and all the other networks make a metric butt-ton of money. (That's a standard unit of measurement. Look it up.) And they're going to continue to make a metric butt-ton of money.

Same goes for the other side. DirecTV Now was hit hard by the CBS brouhaha. While the service has been bleeding customers for some time now, AT&T — which owns DirecTV and DirecTV Now and all sorts of other things through WarnerMedia — isn't hurting for money, either. Same goes for just about any other major streaming service you can think of that might have (or already has) gone through this sort of fight before.

They're not going to convince me that this is anything other than a fight over money. And what they're not going to get me to do is fight their battles for them. Especially when I'm not even caught in the crossfire. This is a fight aimed squarely at DirecTV (and DTVN) subscribers.)

No. Instead, if and when this sort of thing comes for me and my TV, I'm going to do what I've long recommended folks do with this sort of thing. You vote with your wallet. You take your money and go to another service.

Is it fair? Nope. Companies — their lawyers, really — fight, and it's the consumers who lose out.

But we now have more choices than ever. We've got YouTube TV and Fubo TV and Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV and Philo and Pluto and Taibo and ... Hell, we even have CBS All Access to take care of that Blue Bloods fix.

I think I might have made one of those up. But the point remains. When companies behave badly, you take your money and go.

Or get yourself to law school and get that J.D.

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