CABLE BLACKOUT MAY NAPSTERIZE TV
While no progress was reported in the stalled talks between the MSG cable network and distributor Time Warner Cable — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is expected to meet with the two sides sometime this week — it is becoming clear that with a little Internet savvy, New Yorkers can access MSG’s telecasts of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers hockey teams and the New York Knicks basketball team via pirate sites on the Internet — even in high definition on their TV sets. Indeed some observers are suggesting that the blackout could very well encourage cord cutting or at any rate cause many cable subscribers to drop expensive packages and simply watch their favorite channels online. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield suggests that the rise of so-called smart TVs — those that allow simple access to online video — could give rise to the “Napsterization” of cable TV. “If a consumer can point, click and watch the MSG Network streaming on their television … we believe consumers’ desire to subscribe to large bundles of programming the way they have for years is unsustainable,” Greenfield wrote. While Greenfield says he does not “condone” the use of pirate sites, he concludes that “it will be next to impossible” to stop consumers from using them unless cable companies reassess their bundling practices and allow consumers to pick and choose the channels that they want to watch.