Time Warner Cable seeks customer sympathy, assistance

As the second largest company in an industry known for tiered pricing of its services, Time Warner Cable may seem like an unlikely candidate to appeal to its subscribers for help. Just this week, the company has begun a new ad campaign asking its customers to show their support for the company in its negotiations with network programming providers to prevent raises in rates the company would have to pay for carrier rights.

Asking respondents whether Time Warner should "Roll Over" and accede to the raising costs of content providers or "Get Tough" and refuse to accept higher fees at the expense of some shows, the campaign will be featured in television commercials and through an online voting page at rolloverorgettough.com.

"The networks shouldn't be in the driver's seat on what you watch and how much you pay" it says on the site. "You're our customers, so help us decide what to do."

Network deals set to expire this year include The Weather Channel, F/X, Food Network and HGTV. A number of local channels owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group will also be on the table.

Analysts are not convinced that the survey will have an effect on the negotiations, as past efforts by cable companies that cast programmers as "price gougers" failed to gain traction before.

Time Warner Cable, however, extends its appeal on the web site:

"We're just one company, but there are millions of you. Together, we just might be able to make a difference in what America pays for its favorite entertainment."

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