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More Trouble In TV Paradise

As we've said recently, we're not so sure that the money flowing into sports from TV is as secure as people think. There's the sort of disruption that's become a part of our normal expectations of life and there's the purely business aspect of things: ultimately, things are only worth what people are willing to pay.

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Here's a closer look at the reasons why the PAC-12 can't push DirecTV around and why not many people are going to willingly give their dish up.

In a word, geography: although the PAC-12's territory includes great metropolitan areas like coastal California, Portland, Seattle and Phoenix, it also is an enormous territory, and, though we didn't really think of this, it's so obvious that of course it's true: there are lots and lots of people who cable will never reach, because they're too remote or the towns are too small.

DirecTV has offered to carry the PAC-12 Network as a separate network, rather than bundling it, but the conference isn't interested.

Meanwhile, over at Cableville, not all is well.

Subscriptions have leveled out, as has growth in the pay-TV industry, leading to a raft of merger speculation. As the costs of carrying sports continues to rise, as the churn rate grows increasingly negative, and as the basic model of bundling comes under increased pressure from customers and politicians alike, are we watching a bubble forming? It's too early to say absolutely yes, but at the moment, it's not a happy industry.