Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Turmoil at Time Warner - SportsNet LA is No Closer to Full Coverage

On the television front, the Dodgers appear to be no closer to getting full coverage throughout the Southland.  SportsNet LA is still not being carried, and now we hear that David Rone, the architect and driving force behind TWC's sports RSN business, is leaving the company.  Via Meg James at the LA Times:
Rone will step down at the end of this week, but will serve as a consultant at least through December.

"David has accomplished what he set out to do here at TWC, including successfully launching three regional sports networks," Time Warner Cable spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi said late Monday.

"He feels that with this success, the pending acquisition and a strong bench of talented employees who have worked for him, it would be a good time to start exploring other opportunities," Fegyveresi said.
It's probably best to take everything said above with a grain of salt.  After all, it is widely believed that the SportsNet LA channel is hemorrhaging over $100 Million a year in losses.  Furthermore, the Lakers are playing some of the poorest basketball in their history, so viewership has to be getting hit as a result.  Needless to say, all is not exactly well there.

BTW, along with Rone leaving the channel is also cutting cost:
Time Warner Cable has been cutting expenses and laying off staff members within its El Segundo programming division. Last month, it canceled several programs, including "Dodgers Clubhouse" and "Larry King at Bat."
Worse yet, the newly proposed merger with Charter is now facing some regulatory hurdles.  A couple of weeks ago the National Association of Broadcasters petitioned the FCC to suspend the merger, DISH Network did the same and AT&T (while not opposing the merger) asked the FCC to "review the transaction carefully and consider the impact of cable consolidation and coordination on emerging competition."  

At this point, this merger is still likely to happen, but the potential delays inherent in a transaction of this size is certain to slow SportsNet LA reach into new markets. 

Heck, it could mean a third straight year of no Dodger Baseball in a majority of homes.... And that means that a majority of fans will not be able to enjoy Vin Scully's last year with the team.  This would be the biggest shame of all.

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