It's mostly taking place out of public earshot, but a three-way fight between the networks, cable companies and the satellite television industry is threatening to turn into a brawl -- and the main victim is likely to be you. The networks (both cable and broadcast) and local stations are demanding dramatically increased payments from the cable and satellite companies that carry their signals. That means either that the price of cable and satellite service to viewers will increase, or some channels are going to vanish from your service -- or maybe both.
"All of these negotiations are going to be pretty hard-nosed," says Derek Chang, DirecTV's vice president for content strategy and development, in this revealing interview in industry journal TVNewsCheck. DirecTV has already booted one sports channel, Versus, in a dispute over retransmission fees, and Chang hints more are on the way: "When the cost of jet fuel goes up for airlines, then potentially you're going to have start taking away the peanuts."