No Room for Voom

A few months ago, I switched from Dish Network to Cablevision so I could watch MSG-HD. I’ve been a Ranger fan forever. Since Dish didn’t offer MSG-HD, that made up my mind. Cablevision owns Rainbow Media, which owns Voom, and offered all 15 Voom HD channels,  just as Dish did at the time.



Today I heard Dish dropped all the Voom HD channels from their line-up. I was just considering going back to Dish, which means I won’t be watching Voom’s Kung Fu channel, where some of my paesanos and I enjoyed watching the Zatoichi movies from Japan.

Why? Politics, money and bandwidth, according to Phillip Swann:

1. Politics
TBS is owned by Turner Broadcasting, which also owns TNT, CNN, the Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies. These are highly rated, basic-cable networks — and a must-carry for any TV operator. Turner knows this so when it negotiates a carriage deal with a TV provider, it usually can mandate that it carry the company’s entire programming suite. That gives TBS HD a tremendous edge over Voom.

And this is not to harp on Turner and TBS. NBC Universal, which owns NBC, CNBC, Universal HD, MSNBC, etc., uses the same leverage to get carriage for its entire programming lineup.

At this time, Voom is relatively unknown and, consequently, does not generate as much interest in the TV audience. It’s easier for a TV provider to say yes to Turner and no to Voom.

2. Money
Because Voom is a small unit, the company must sell all 15 channels as a programming block, rather than offering each niche channel individually. This requires a TV provider to pay more in carriage fees if it wants to add Voom’s suite to its lineup. So it’s easier — and cheaper — for the TV provider to simply go with the established channels from companies such as Turner and NBC.

3. Bandwidth
While cable and satellite operators are rapidly expanding their high-def capacities, many still lack the system space to add 15 HD channels all at once. Even if Voom was owned by a powerhouse such as Turner, it would have difficulty getting 15 channels on the air at the same time.