This article was originally published on PaidContent.org on November 17, 2003.
Day One of the Sports Media & Technology conference kicked off Thursday in New York City.
The day started with fireworks.
During the first panel session “Sports-Tiered Pricing and the Battle Over Increasing Rates”, panelists Leo Hindery (Chairman & CEO, YES Network) and Fred Dressler (Senior VP of Programming, Time Warner Cable) squared off in a heated debate.
Hindery said sportscasts are worth the highest prices in cable because they bring in the most viewers.
“Let’s put every network on the table and compare their ratings with their costs,” said Hindery.
Dressler said sports programming costs are climbing 12%-15% every year. But Time Warner Cable can’t get those expenses back from subs because if the rates to consumers go higher than 5% a year, customers cancel and defect to DirecTV and EchoStar.
“Just because George Steinbrenner can’t say no to a high-priced player doesn’t mean I have to say yes to Leo,” said Dressler.
Attendees at the conference were buzzing the rest of the day about the heated exchange during this panel.
For more on this session, click over to the report in Variety.com (free registration required).
Other panels including “Understanding the Realities of the HDTV Transition”, and “Gaining Control of the Emerging Broadband Sports Revenue Stream” (yours truly was a panelist on that session) were more tame.
In my next report, I’ll cover “The Future of Video Games Online”.