Calm down everyone... all that's happening is that Argentina cable is becoming like cable in every other country but the States. In Canada if you don't pay for basic you get 3 channels. If you pay for basic, you get another 20+ more, if you want CNN and BBC World you pay more, and if you want HBO you pay even more. Same thing in Britain, without a package you get 4 channels. Everything after that costs more money. Argentina had one of the most generous cable packages I've ever seen, now it's just becoming more normal.
People talk about this like it's a consipiracy by the Argentine Government. The reason the foreign channels disappeared is because their content is 100% foreign -- there's no way for Argentina to make revenue off of them with advertising etc. The only way to deal with raised rates by CNN and BBC (who are the people you should ACTUALLY be angry at) is to pass off the cost to the consumer.
Cablevision is of course looking after their margins, and screwing the customer just as any company does, but it's the bigboy cable networks that are behind the price increases. They raised the rates in Canada as well because the foreign cable companies want more $$$.
BBC is losing revenue left right and center because of their free broadcasting -- now that anyone can listen to BBC online for free, the tax paid by the average Englishman to provide this service just isn't keeping up. I'm surprised that they've managed to continue so much free content as it is -- 60million Brits are paying for billions of people to listen to their service for free. BBC America and the other cable networks that BBC has invented are there to ensure that they can continue free content at home. Since there are strong restrictions on increasing fees at home, they have to go abroad to recoup their costs. Hence, instead of dinging the English guy in London with higher fees, they'll go after the one in Las Canitas
Foreign-language channels used to offer Argentina concessions due to the low-value of the peso. This year they hiked the prices, and as the audience is so small for these channels, and consist of an elite portion of society here -- they have moved these channels into part of their premium packages. Face it, there's not a lot of people watching TV5 and the German channel here -- and even though I know a lot of Argentines that speak english, they'd rather watch TN than American-skewed CNN. The BBC is high-quality programming, but come on -- when are they going to give us Latin American content rather than keep giving us the Asian programming?? We'd be better off getting the European or North American feed than the Hong Kong feed....
With Sony, AXN, Fox, etc there's money to be made selling a few minutes of local content space -- the ads space they sell and those annoying little "what's going on" segments that pop up every once in awhile with a host that I think is actually Brazilian. The BBC has a no-advertising policy as far as I remember, so any "ads" are just for other BBC programmes or BBC sponsored events. CNN I believe also advertised just other crap that CNN was doing, I can't recall if they actually had any locally produced ads.
Also, I'm not sure what the policies are in Argentina. In Canada there are strict policies about having Canadian content. Therefore if you're watching an American show on a basic cable channel, every commercial that airs has to be Canadian produced and oriented, and then there are also things like that "what's going on" that are aired to make up the required minutes. I think it's something like in every 1hr of television there has to be 20mins of Canadian content. This may explain some of what's going on here (beyond the cross-marketing of Sony produced music etc). In Canada only channels that are part of a premium package are allowed to show what they like.
If you want to read more about this you have to go to google.com.ar and search on television policies in Argentina, CNN disappearing in Argentina etc. I read a bunch of articles about it months ago but I'd have to go look for the websites all over again.