It might turn out to be a TV movie of the week before it's all over. When we last left the very public family feud between Cablevision Systems and its HD-centric service dubbed VOOM, Cablevision had announced that VOOM would be shut down after a deadline passed without an agreement to acquire VOOM's assets. But in the "Not So Fast Department" in recent days, following some of the most spirited family-business politics in memory (three members of the board were summarily replaced by four VOOM-supporting directors), a last-ditch effort to save the HD service may actually have some staying power.
VOOM's vocal inside supporter is 78 year-old Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan; his business adversary happens to be his son, Cablevision CEO James Dolan. It was the elder Dolan who shocked observers last week by replacing the board members to help tip the balance of VOOM support in his favor. The new board met for the first time on March 7, but reportedly no action was taken that would finally determine the fate of VOOM one way or another. The new board apparently is giving the elder Dolan (who owns a powerful amount of high-priority stock in Cablevision) some time to try to work something out.
On March 8, the VOOM Web site still was promoting its menu, which includes 35 HD channels, and a "Get It" link referred users to an 800-number. A phone tree of recorded messages led to a live company operator, who asked for the caller's name immediately upon answering. Upon identifying himself, a reporter was quickly transferred to a "floor supervisor" who said "everyone would be kept informed of the company's announcements" and that VOOM's current service would continue uninterrupted for now. Earlier, Cablevision had promised to continue providing VOOM to current satellite customers for a minimum of 30 days, and there were published reports that one of its largest retail partners, Sears, had been assured that VOOM would continue. Stay tuned.
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