Insight vice chmn/CEO Michael Willner is reaching out to customers through another forthright customer campaign, this time explaining the MSO’s carriage impasse with Big Ten Net. In the video message, running at WhatistheBigTendeal.com, a casual Willner stresses the net’s refusal of sports tier carriage—and even rips a page from the net’s playbook. Carriage will come "as soon as the Big Ten Network is willing to give you a choice," says Willner, who asks subs to send pro-tiering messages to the net via the site. A link on the site’s homepage leads to more interesting information, including an Insight claim that BTN has rebuffed an offer to receive a "substantial payment for each digital customer who would receive the network… We are guessing that our offer simply isn’t enough to satisfy their greed." The net failed to respond by deadline. Once again, Willner spoke on behalf of the MSO amid a charged climate, a move that echoes last year’s recorded apologies to subs for widespread service disruptions and the explanations on message boards of data rate hikes. And with cable lagging DBS and telcos in recent customer satisfaction measurements (Cfax, Aug 17), those concerned about Big Ten’s fate may come to appreciate Insight’s open approach. On the site, the MSO even buttresses empathizing text with a video message from an employee who is, appropriately enough, an Ohio St football fan. Clad in an OSU jersey, R.J. Walker paraphrases Willner’s message and reiterates the chief’s call to action. — Another portal, PuttingFansFirst.com, seeks to "address the soaring costs of sports programming," and uses Big Ten Network as a prime example. The site says it’s a "new coalition of sports superfans and concerned consumers" that receives corporate support from Comcast.

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