Yesterday’s post on the Big Ten Network not being carried to about 35,000 Penn State alums in Pennsylvania drew the attention of at least one cable company executive. Today I received a formal response from Armstrong Cable president, Jeffrey Ross.
Ross, a Penn State alum, stated to me that his company, Armstrong, services customers primarily in Pennsylvania and Ohio so the interest in the Big Ten Network was always high for the cable provider. And why not? They provide cable television to customers in the home states of two of the biggest football programs in the conference. Ross tells me also that many of the employees at Armstrong, including many personnel in high ranking positions, are graduates of Penn State or Ohio State. So why doesn’t Armstrong carry the Big Ten Network? As Ross says in his lengthy e-mail to me, “Because Fox [a partner with the Big Ten responsible for broadcasting the Big Ten Network] is effectively demanding that every customer must pay one of the highest monthly programming rates of any service for The Big Ten Network.”
This appears to be a legitimate concern, and for smaller cable providers without the resources of companies like Comcast and Time Warner, it can be the toughest hurdle to jump in order to bring the Big Ten Network into the homes of cable customers. Ross is aware of the desire for fans to receive the Big Ten Network, but as long as Armstrong feels they are not getting their best possible deal it appears fans will still be left without the network. Ross claims Armstrong has continued to work on reaching an agreement.
We have tried for 3+ years to negotiate a reasonable solution with Fox and the Big Ten Network. We offered to pay more per subscriber to have the option to place it on our digital line up. Another offer was to add the network in areas that had the most interest, rather than our entire company. We even offered to give the Big Ten Network its own spot on our line up, like HBO, and charge whatever they wanted for the individual channel. This would allow those customers who really wanted it to pay for it. Unfortunately, Fox and the Big Ten Network are demanding that a significant majority of customers in Big Ten states must have the ability to view the channel. We received their “Best and Final” offer and they are not willing to move off this point whatsoever.
– Armstrong Cable President, Jeffrey Ross via e-mail (download)
For the record, I reached out to Armstrong, Blue Ridge and Metrocast Cable by way of their website contact forms, alerting them of yesterday’s post. In my e-mails to each I asked for any response they cared to give, assuring them I would relay their messages to the readers. Ross was the first, and only, respondent as of this afternoon.
Big Ten Network Coverage in Pennsylvania
If you were interested just what the Big Ten Network coverage in Pennsylvania is, here is an updated coverage map, as provided to me by Penn State.
The poll is still up and running in yesterday’s post on the Big Ten Network, and I encourage everyone to take a quick moment to cast their vote if they have not already. As of the time of this post, 28.8% of those who voted said that they do not receive the Big Ten Network, with 27.1% stating that their cable provider does not offer it. Also, 47.5% of those who voted said that their cable provider does offer the Big Ten Network.
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