Trying to map the dynamics of the coming connectivity wars can get complicated. I think a metaphor to use is to put the cable operators in the same place that the telcos were in just after the Telecomms Act in 96 - with little market power on paper, but with a huge amount in the real world.
Here's a nice piece from the Post discussing how cable operators won't be forced to carry side channels - the additional channels per station enabled by shifting to digial broadcasting. The metaphor works (to an extent) because carriage rights (over cable networks) are analogous to access rights (over telco networks).
Now, obviously, in a situation where the cable operators can cherry-pick which content to carry (or not), distribution is king. Oh, yeah - and the consumer generally gets a bad deal as well.
The interesting part is that the situation won't be static, like the telco industry post 96. Since the MSOs and the RBOCs will be competing against each other for content and customers, the market dynamics look to be considerably more complex than the network owner simply putting the squeeze on content producers.