Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcasting have disagreed about financial terms for Time Warner to carry broadcast signals. Suddenlink is engaged in a similar retransmission consent dispute with Viacom, which could result in Suddenlink losing access to a large number of major channels.
Financial disputes between programmers and distributors are not unusual. But the inability to come to terms without risking service disruptions are more common these days, in part because distributors realize ever-growing retail prices are going to have a negative impact, at some point, as alternatives become available and linear video prices continue to climb.
It is significant that multichannel video subscriptions have declined for two consecutive quarters, something that never has happened before. If the trend continues, observers will be forced to admit that multichannel TV now is more than a mature product, but has become a "declining" product.