Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's bigger than we thought

This afternoon I saw an old friend. A chance meeting, but one that you will like hearing about. The topics of discussion ranged from inane banter to VERY interesting discussions about his work.

He's an installer for DirecTV.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

About a year ago, he was a cable installer for one of those local outfits that "assists" Time Warner Cable with their excess work. Then he got offered a job at DirecTV and left for somewhat greener pastures.

He tells me that about two weeks ago, a couple of old co-workers from his previous company were hired on at DirecTV. The next day, a couple more. Within a week, a total of seven cable installers were now DirecTV installers. Down to the man, each one told the tale of how the work orders were decreasing, and the work that Time Warner was turning over to them were ALL repairs or replacements. No new installations. With work dwindling, DirecTV had a pool of workers ripe for the picking...especially with their own numbers rising.

My friend is not sports-savvy, so he didn't understand the shift of workloads until last week, when he caught wind of the Big Ten Network.

Now, this is all assumptions by yours truly....but could this upstart network literally have the capability to wound the monopoly of cable television? No, of course not...but if Time Warner Cable doesn't get their heads out of their asses, they could lose a LOT more than a college sports network. They could lose an entire Conference filled with loyal fans. And their loyalty only goes as far as their schools...they'll be willing to switch a measly cable box in for a satellite dish if it means watching their one true loyalty in this whole mess.

I'm not sure if they had this in mind, but when DirecTV signed the deal with the Big Ten Network, did they know how much business it would swing their way?

And with each passing day, the board room at DirecTV cheers when the cable companies continue their resistance.

Find yourself a cool restaurant with big-screen TVs for Saturday, and GET THERE EARLY.

And remember this whole disaster the next time your cable company tells you they need to raise their rates.

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