Hey, if Ma is reading this she isn’t gonna like it. Oh, wait- I forget, she doesn’t have Internet service, let alone a computer. You see, if Rupert Murdoch does what he threatens, Ma isn’t going to be able to watch television in the kitchen anymore as will a few million others. I’ll explain.
Ma has three tv sets. Two are connected to cable. The one in the kitchen picks up over-the-air digital signals from an antenna sitting next to the microwave. This means that sometimes the signal cuts out when she heats up soup or walks over to the pantry door to grab some crackers. Other than the one-time cost of the antenna, the channels that are accessible from the kitchen set are free. The two connections via cable cost a pretty monthly penny. The advantage of the cable is that there are more channels plus it has the very important sports stations where she can watch Cubs and Bulls games that are not on the regular channels.
Anyway, I believe Barry Diller used to work for Rupert Murdoch many years ago. In any case, they used to do business together. Not anymore. Diller, being a smart guy, figured out that there is no law that prevents him from taking the antenna signals and re-packaging them to those who are looking for more choices and better reception without having to pay the exorbitant cable or dish fees. Diller started a company called Aereo that does this signal borrowing. So far US courts have upheld Aereo’s right to do this. After all, airwaves are free, right?
Mr Murdoch is obviously not happy about giving away something for free that he is able to otherwise charge lots of money- to wit, cable and dish companies. He is threatening to stop allowing his Fox Network products to be distributed over the airwaves. They will only be accessible through cable or dish connections. The other networks are watching this battle carefully and may consider the same. Therefore, Ma may soon not be able to watch Fox in the kitchen. Truth be told, she only watches Fox during the fall for Sunday afternoon football games. If it need be, she will move to the living room, sit back on the recliner and watch it from the cable connection. It won’t be as pretty because the set there is an old big square box, whereas the one in the kitchen is a smaller but flat screen high definition type I bought her a couple of years ago. I guess you take the good with the bad.
According to A C Nielsen, the company that tracks tv viewing habits, less than 15% of homes today do not have cable connected sets. I suspect that these are the viewers who sit during the daytime in the kitchen enamored with watching several episodes of Judge Judy and her judicial colleagues. If you think Rupert Murdoch is an old, rich fuddy duddy- what do you think about the fact that Judge Judy allegedly now makes 45 million dollars a year and will so until she is 72? If this is true, I’m guessing she owns her own production company and has to pay her staff of bailiff, cameramen, producers, litigant coordinators, etc. Still, after taxes and payroll, you have to think it leaves her with at least 10 million, right? Not bad for a lady who is good for at least two “shut up!”s a show.
Speaking of daytime television, will someone please help me. Should I send away for the hair restorer or hair removal kits? The people giving their testimonials on those commercials sure do a good job of making a convincing case either way.