Monday, September 21, 2015

1531 Altice in Wonderland

1531 Altice in Wonderland


“Off with their heads!” -- The Queen of Hearts


If you’re expecting big things from the new owners of Cablevision, don’t.  If you think all of a sudden customer service will stop stinking like a road-killed skunk, think again.  If you hope your bill will stop increasing with each sunrise, abandon all hope.


Corporations are people.  Many important actual flesh and blood bipeds say so. The majority of supreme court justices, Railroad tycoon Bancroft Davis who was among the first to win that point in the 1850s.  Mitt Romney is famous for saying so.  


If true -- and we all know it HAS to be true because it wouldn’t be on TV and Radio, in the papers and on the internet if it weren’t -- corporations each have their own DNA.


And a change of venue for Cablevision’s front office is not going to change the genetic makeup, no matter how hard the new owners may try.


“Whooo are Youuuu?” -- The Caterpillar


The European cable operator Altice announced it was buying Cablevision from the founding Dolan family of Long Island.


The head guy at Altice, Patrick Drahi, is a French Israeli or an Israeli Frenchman depending on when you ask him. He’s trying to be a combination of John Malone and Rupert Murdoch.  But as far as can be told for the moment, with less politicality than either.


Cablevision was a pioneer in its business.  But it has long since missed the rabbit hole to the big time.  


Comcast has more than 22 million customers and TimeWarner says it has 15 million, a figure which raised doubt while the two were briefly holed up in a Philadelphia budget motel planning their wedding. Cablevision has 3 million.


Tweedledees vs Tweedledums


The founding Dolan family? It appears daddy and his children don’t get along all that well.  And since there are a bunch of offspring in various real and fake company jobs, they probably realize that the light at the end of the tunnel is on the front of an oncoming train and decided it’s better to sell than fight.


So Altice’s King of Hearts will grow roses in the United States in addition to most of Europe and the Caribbean.  And his dwarves will continue to paint the white ones red.  His mad hatter tea party will move to Bethpage. And his Cheshire Cat will appear in trees in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, northern New Jersey and a few other places, smiling down as you fume about the rates and service.


Still Not Through the Looking Glass


Oh, and don’t for a minute believe you’ll soon be free of the Dolans.  They’ll still own Madison Square Garden, the hapless Knicks and Rangers, the still- great Radio City Music Hall and the once- great-ish Newsday newspaper,which may or may not be part of the cable deal.


As for Drahi, sit down.  Have a chunk of mushroom and obey the signs that say “drink me.”


Shrapnel:


--There are few observers who’ve gotten the human condition as right as Lewis Carroll.  Among them are Tom Lehrer, Laurence Peter, L. Frank Baum, George Carlin and Jon Stewart.  Everyone read, saw or heard. Few absorbed, looked or listened.


Grapeshot:


-It’s nice to see the rest of the opining class catching up to the Wessays™ take on Carly .


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2015

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