Jeff Leeds in the Los Angeles Times reports that MTV is getting some competition. Its about time! Now maybe the channel won't SUCK. Not surprisingly, MTV's parent Viacom is putting its oligopolistic power to use by "exercising a provision in contracts with record labels that requires them to provide music videos for Viacom's exclusive use."
Isn't this anticompetitive? What would happen to MTV and Viacom - and the labels - if there was "true" competition in the cable TV and the music industries? Competition has been known to improve quality, lower costs and improve service. Wouldnt that be nice? The companies in these industries act like spoiled children - the only thing worse than a whiner is a filthy rich whiner. Isn't that right, Sumner?
"Executives at the five major record conglomerates won't talk publicly about the move. Privately, they're griping about what they say is MTV's bid to strong-arm them in order to keep its near-monopoly status in the music TV business. The labels agreed to the exclusivity provisions in contracts signed years ago. But executives say those deals were signed back when MTV had little serious competition. Under the labels' contracts, the Viacom network can air a video exclusively for as long as six months, sources say.
"Given the current crisis in the music industry, it's a shame that anyone would seek to prevent the work of today's artists from getting to as many people as possible," said Marc Juris, president of Fuse Networks, which is owned by Cablevision Systems Corp."