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A LaCarte Programming

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by Kendick, Feb 10, 2006.

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  1. Greg Bimson

    Greg Bimson Hall Of Fame

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    Let's go back to one of your other questions regarding Microsoft:
    The issues were:
    1) that the "bundling of IE" to Windows was anti-competitive (remember, Microsoft is both the creator and distributor of the product)
    2) that Windows is the defacto "monopoly" operating system, with over 90 percent market share in home computers.

    This is a much different scenario than the cable television paradigm. After all, ESPN is NOT a monopoly, so it is like comparing apples to oranges.

    Also, as far as I recall, ESPN is not "forcing" bundling of channels to distributors. Distributors can actually take only ESPN original. The funny thing is that by taking only the flagship station, it costs the distributor more than if they took the entire ESPN suite. However, the pricing per subscriber is dependent upon being placed in the lowest, most widely available basic tier.
     
  2. rcbridge

    rcbridge Godfather

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    Has anyone paid attention to AT+T lately there will soon be only 2 major players in the wired phone industry!! (not counting VOIP).

    As far as a monopoly there is much competition for video services:
    Dish, Direct, Cable and FIOS.

    As far as the government goes (FCC) the DBS companies are alloted frequencies to operate in but they are not free or public domain.
     
  3. Mike D-CO5

    Mike D-CO5 Hall Of Fame

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    The Disney/Hearst company is the one who forces companies with forced bundeling to any cable or sat provider. They say if you want Disney channels you have to take the Espn channels . In some cases if you want the Abc local affilitate that they own , you have to take both the Disney channels and the Espn channels. (This is what Charlie tried to avoid by splitting the local channels from the lifetime channels recently. This left the Lifetime people out of the game because Dish had nothing to lose but the lifetime channels .) Oh and the espn /disney channels have to be in the lowest pack of programming available. Now excuse me but that sounds remarkabley like "forced bundeling "to me? Or legalized extortion or blackmail maybe?

    This is done all over the country with all cable companies and both sat providers. If I want any of the average national cable channels I have to buy the Espn and Disney channels to get them. This highly inflates the cost of the lowest pack of programming for any cable or sat customers , which is the base for all programming packs, except the new family packs with Dish at least.

    This process needs to be changed by Congress via a new law or regulation, if they want to make Ala carte a reality as the FCC chairman has said he wants to do.

    I have had 6 price increases with Dish in 6 years. In 1999 I believe I first went with Aep for 69.99 and now it is 84.99 a month. That is a 15.00 increase in 7 years. At this yearly increase rate they will be 99.99 for Aep in 2012. This will eventually lead to more and more people deciding to not only cut the cable but to dump the dish as well. You can only squeeze so much blood out of a turnip as Wages have stayed stagnet for the last 6 years for the average U.S. worker.

    When and If, the telecos decide to NOT play this game with the Disney/Hearst company and decide to NOT include the Espn channels in the lowest pack of programming with their new video distribution networks , will start a flood of churn for the cable and sat companies.

    Add to that the ever increasing cost for gasoline and oil and you will see the demand for a change that WILL COME. The experts are predicting increases that will cause gas to go over 3.00 and up before summer. Another devasting hurricane season in 2 months and you can bet the price will go fast to 4.00 a gallon or higher. People will have to decide between heating & air conditioning their homes , running their cars , EATING or paying the ever increasing cable/sat bills. I think a lot of people will cut down to the family pack or just locals with Dish and or cut it out entirely . Especially if the gas price goes up to 5.00 a gallon.

    The need for ala carte will become a big demand if all this keeps up as I have discussed. The cable /sat companies will have to decide if they want to sell ANY programming at all with Ala carte vs none at all. Whether it is theme packs or every channel sold individually remains to be seen. But I predict that Ala carte is coming........
     
  4. Opynion

    Opynion Godfather

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    Mar 21, 2006
    That's right, there is more competition for video services, Dish, Cable, etc., but they all act as monopolys, and the proof of this is that none of them offer a la carte, period.
    I remember when Dish used to say:

    "Stop feeding the pig" (CableTv"),

    if you want TCM from Dish, you have to pay $39 a month for the AT-120
    & the local Cable-Tv offers TCM/Turner Classic Movies included in their monthly bill of $38

    Whos the pig now?

    We are happy with E, we just want the a la carte option to make it better (as soon as it becomes available);
    with a la carte people would get the quality channels they want,
    instead of paying for a few channels they want, and for crappy channels they don't want, and still not getting all the channels they really want,
    because they would have to pay for more channels they want & for more channels they don't want.

    people on a budget that want channels from diferent packs, up to the AT-180 pack, could afford them on the a la carte option; 20 channels for $39 a month for the following channels would be my choice:
    1.TVLAND
    2.SCI-FI
    3.IFC
    4.FX
    5.TCM
    6.ENCORE-W
    7.ENC-ACTION
    8.SPIKE-TV
    9.TNT
    10.CNN
    11.HEADLINE NEWS
    12.ESPN DEPORTES
    13.AZTECA AMERICA
    14.GALAVISION
    15.ENC-WESTERNS
    16.ENC-MYSTERY
    17.DE PELICULA CLASICO
    18.HTV
    19.PLAYBOY EN ESPANOL
    20.HBO LATINO
     
  5. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Kittrell, NC
    Hey, so for folks that think they can do it better and more fair... why not get together and launch your own satellite and then see what you need to do as a company to make back the money to pay for all of it!

    Kind of like the "hippy" movement of the 1960s when all those "down with the man" people eventually grew up and entered the real world and became that which they had protested against.
     
  6. the_bear

    the_bear Godfather

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    You will have a tough time convincing anyone here that the IE un-bundle was a success. Besides, not only is the OS market currently less competitive than TV, the TV market is about to get much more competitive.
    How noble the government’s intentions when they decided to create a basic cable package with price cap and major networks. This lead to unnaturally large popularity and budgets for the major networks. National channels were forced to subsidize the locals. Look at these message boards to see all the requests for LIL. This is the result of government funneling money to local stations. Although this was not the intention of the original basic cable mandate, what a mess it made for DBS.
    As you have found, pay TV cannot grow faster than disposable income forever. This current price spike will end well before 2012, that is if government does not try to interfere.
     
  7. Opynion

    Opynion Godfather

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    Since a la carte is coming, there is no need for that.

    If channel packages were that good,
    nobody would be protesting
    and
    the FCC would not try to do something about getting a la carte.
     
  8. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    Jan 11, 2006
    You say that like you have inside information. What is going to make it more competitive? I've said before that until the suppliers are no longer distributors nothing significant is going to change. Nobody has said anything here to change my opinion on that and I don't see that happening anytime soon.
     
  9. Greg Bimson

    Greg Bimson Hall Of Fame

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    Many of the larger programming providers do not own any distribution platforms. Take, for example:

    CBS (just CBS and UPN/CW stations)
    Viacom (MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime)
    NBC/Universal (USA, NBC, Telemundo_
    Disney (ESPN, Disney, ABC)

    These companies do not own a distribution platform. Fox just picked one up two years ago. Comcast doesn't have much, other than some sports nets and E! Entertainment.

    Time Warner is the only major distributor with significant channel holdiings, as they have been this way for over a decade. So don't think that being a supplier and a distributor is commonplace.
    A la carte isn't coming, yet, if at all.
    Fine. Just realize all the channels you want a la carte are subsidized because they are in packages. Channels are placed in packages for the distributor (as well as the channel provider) to make money. Channels placed in a higher tier are there to entice a larger purchase. Remove the ability to package, and the pricing for each channel will rise.

    And even the FCC report stated a la carte was feasible pointed out that a la carte would barely give consumers any choice at all for the exact same money they are spending now. If FCC Commissioner Martin believes in a la carte, the substance of the report he commissioned tells me he must also believe in Cinderella and the Tooth Fairy.

    The same FCC does not have any rulemaking in front of them to start a la carte. Congress is not holding hearings and addressing the issue. There isn't any pending legislation for a la carte. And we expect a Republican Congress and a Republican Executive to actually re-regulate the multi-channel industry?

    Even I know these things will evolve. But nothing like you believe.
     
  10. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

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    yes they went to court---and they won. But the statement that the executive branch ---which asked for the brealup---was not involved was faulty.
     
  11. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    May 28, 2004
    Once again we have people who continuously defend these big businesses without logic or reason other than perhaps they fear that if forced subsidies are removed those that have some need to subscribe to 10,000 channels will have to foot the full bill for that - or they are but one of many "plants" that the pay tv industry have on their payroll. Pay TV spends hundreds of millions of dollars yearly on advertising, lobbyists and donations to politicians yet not a single drop of that $$$ goes toward internet "spin control" - paranoid? some say yes some need to open their eyes.

    Once again I will ask (and will be ingnored by the pro-screw the customer crowd)

    1. Why do we only have three main programming packages for D*, Dish and cable? (I do not consider family a main package)

    2. Why do you need to subscribe to package "a" and "b" in order to get package "c"?

    3. If I subscribe to package "a" and want a single channel in package "c" why do I have to pay $20 to subscribe to "B" and "c" instead of just adding on the one channel?

    I know the answer and you all do but we keep trying to sugar coat it. Let's just come right out and admit it and stop trying to justify what is being done to us.

    The current system is set up for no other reason than to try and milk the consumer (us) out of the most amount of $$$ that they can.

    What special interest groups represent the consumer? What "donations" to politicians are being made on the behalf of the consumer? Why speaks for us?

    I ROTFLMAO when I read such total and utter BS as...

    "If you do not like being screwed then just cancel all pay tv"

    "If you can do better than make your own pay TV system"

    I find it hard to beleive that pay TV is somehow exempt from other businesses. In effect they have become a utility company. Most people consider phone service a required "must have" utility but 50+ years ago this was not the case.... things change!

    My example of the gas company is, IMHO, the way it should be done. The distributors (Dish, D*, cable) will show one line on your bill for distribution costs, one line for equipment rental etc... and another section of your bill will list the channels you subscribe to and what you are paying for each channel. Want to offer packages in addition to this or volumn discounts then fine but everything is on the table. Nothing is hidden.

    ESPN wants to triple it's fees then so be it but then ESPN risks the possibility that a good number of people will cancel - JUST LIKE OTHER BUSINESES!

    So lets stop being silly.

    If you like the forced subsidies right now then come out and just say it. You are against change because you would be forced to pay your own costs. Stop trying to justify why people who only watch a half dozen channels need to pay for 20, 30 or more channels.

    Stop posting studies paid for by the programmers saying silly stupid things like ESPN will cost $20 a month under ala-cart.... if ESPN cost $20 a month it would not be around very long!

    How about my study (sarcasm here) saying that under ala-cart all channels would cost 1 cent and our monthly bill would be $1?

    This is just as silly and bias as the programmers studies saying that the sky will fall under any changed system. What do you expect a study by big business to say? "Our study has shown that we have been screwing the consumer for years and due to this study we will be reducing our rates"

    In closing I ask this last question.... (again)

    If I want to subscribe to one single channel....
    If I pay 100% the cost for all equipment....
    If I pay 100% the cost for installation....
    If I pay the same distribution fee that is charges under the distributors lowest package (IE the distributor makes their minimum profit as I understand that they have to pay to put up and maintain satalites (sp?)

    Why can't I subscribe to one single channel?

    Why will they not take my $$$?

    If I pay $5 for that one channel and $5 for distributing that channel - why can't I get that one channel for $10 a month? The programmer is still making $$$ for that one channel and the distributor is still making $$$ off of me so why?

    There is no technical reason... there is only greed and rules set up by big business to ensure that "they" make as much $$$ as possible off the backs of the consumer.

    -JB
     
  12. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    Who said to remove all packaging?
    Who is against giving breaks for volume?

    Why can't both exist?

    Very very few people would take all their channels ala-cart. Most, IMHO, would take the package that was closest to their viewing habits and maybe add a few ala-cart channels thus customizing what they get to "their" (not the programmers!) tastes.

    I'm glad to admitted that packages are set up to make the programmers and businesses more $$$ - of course this additional $$$ comes off the backs of people who may not want what is being forced upon them.

    Is this not the real issue here?

    Choice means less profit so choice is bad?

    What is wrong with this?

    I pay Dish $75 a month for 75 channels (numbers just an example)

    If I pay Dish the same $75 a month but "I" get to pick the channels (based upon the cost of the channels as I am fully aware that some channels cost more than others) then what is wrong with this?

    Dish makes the same profit. The programmers that "I" pick make the same profit. I get choice.... everyone wins!

    The onyl drawback is that the programmers would now have to compete based on price (like every other business!!!) and they fear this competition because competition brings in lower profits over the long term as they no longer have a free hand to raise rates without the public knowing who it is.

    Right now we balme the distributors because all we see is the one bill. I wonder how many people would be happy with ESPN over the past 10 years if they knew how much our bill has gone up just for sports?

    -JB
     
  13. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    I understand that completely. One of the channels that's been singled out in this thread is ESPN. I am a regular ESPN viewer. I realize that I am saving money on ESPN because it is being subsidized by others. That doesn't change my support for a la carte. I'm willing to take the chance that ESPN will price me out of subscribing, because I don't believe you should be subsidizing my pay television. I certainly don't want to subsidize yours. BTW, I don't think any of us a la carte supporters are asking for the "removal of the ability to package." I am asking for a la carte to be offered as an option along with packages. If I believed it was an all or nothing proposition, I wouldn't be so enthusiastic in my support of it.
     
  14. Greg Bimson

    Greg Bimson Hall Of Fame

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    I guess you can call me the shill.

    These packages are set up so both the distributor and the programmer make money. You caught my explanation in your following post.

    Before anyone complains realize that THE TIERING SYSTEM WAS CREATED BY THE CABLE AND DBS COMPANIES: AT60 is a Dish Network construct; Total Choice is DirecTV's; Cablevision has iO Gold, etc.

    Who wants packaging?

    Of course, the channel providers don't want a la carte, because they generally want to be distributed to a wide range of people. So they agree to be placed in these packages in exchange for a lowered, subsidized rate. The channel provider, of course, will make up that rate based upon advertising rates for a widely distributed channel.
    Assuming the "basic cable" bill has risen over the past 10 years by about 60 percent, and the entire ESPN suite of channels is still less than $3 a month, I'd like to know where the rest of the money the cable companies (and DBS for that matter) generated in price increases has gone.
     
  15. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    Jan 11, 2006
    JB,

    I'm on your side here, but I think your rants about big business trying to screw us are off base. These companies are trying to make a profit by satisfying the needs and wants of their customers. It can't possibly be their goal to screw us. If that's all they're doing they will quickly go out of business because you and I will not see any value in doing business with them. Are they meeting the desires of every customer? No way. Is it possible? Not even close. Have they designed packages to entice people to move up a tier or two to get their one extra channel? Absolutely! Is that unethical or immoral? Nope. " Big" and small businesses make marketing and pricing decisions everyday. Their goal is to fullfill a need or desire and turn a profit doing it. No one is "forcing" anything on you. Pay TV is a purely voluntary agreement, between you and your distributor. It is up to you to decide if the cost of the next level package is worth it for you.

    Having said all of that, do I believe that pay TV is missing an opportunity here? You bet I do. They are beginning to price some of us out of the market with all of the packages. I know that I, for one, am considering dropping down to a locals only package because of the cost. I'd completely drop it, but I can't receive locals without DBS. How many people are out there that don't subscribe to pay TV because of the cost? I really don't know, but I'll bet there is a market out there for a la carte, in addition to the packages. The number of posts and the intensity of this debate go to show that something has to give.
     
  16. the_bear

    the_bear Godfather

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    That depends on your definition of soon. I don’t have any inside information, but I probably do pay more attention to TV news than the average consumer. I don’t see the elimination of the independent TV distributor, well at least not in my lifetime. Being the content creator and content distributor creates a conflict of interest that ultimately leads to reduced profits. The TV business is one of very low incremental costs. Content providers do best to sell to the maximum number of retailers. Retailers do best by selling the maximum amount of content. For example, Dish would pay more for National Geographic HD if it was not owned by the same company as DirectTV. Now we have no National Geographic HD on Dish. Discovery would charge DirectTV less for the same reason. No one likes give their competitors good deals, and competing with your customers is never good business. The only reason we see this type of activity is there are too few players in the pay TV business.

    The Pay TV business is now changing. Cable and DBS too expensive, well then I’ll change to Verizon. If I want ABC without ESPN, I’ll put up an antenna. If I want HDNet without Discovery, I’m off to CinemaNow. If I want movies without “The Sopranos” I’m off to Netflix. If I want all of the first 56 games of March Madness, I am off to http://www.ncaasports.com/mmod. If I want NBA games I am off to Google Video. If I want PPV movies without basic programming, I am off to MovieBeam or MovieLink.
    If I want “Battlestar Galactica” without FOX News, I go to iTunes. As much as I hate to say it, even illegal downloads puts downward pressure to pay TV prices. People will go to the internet if you try to get $150 out of them. Even video games cuts into pay TV sales as people play more games and watch less TV. Looking to the future pay TV prices are about to come down. That price decrease can come in the form of simple dollars or smaller bundles. It is likely we will see both. That is if the government does not prevent it.
     
  17. rcbridge

    rcbridge Godfather

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    Does everyone forget that in the last 10 years DBS has launched numerous satellites (they are not cheap) new ground stations, maintenance etc.

    Cable has rebuilt there infrastructure, STB's, head ends, maintenance etc...
    All of these things cost money!!

    Most providers will typically lose money on each subscriber for awhile and will make it up over time! If that subscriber leaves before the break even period that is just a loss! This is why they try to lock you in for a period of time.
    A perfect example of this is with cell phones do you have any idea of what a Motorola Razr cost?
     
  18. Greg Bimson

    Greg Bimson Hall Of Fame

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    Sure do.

    And that is why the distributors are just as culpable. Programming costs aren't the only piece of the puzzle that makes costs rise. And I can't opt out of DirecTV building a new satellite or any distributor upgrading their infrastructure, so why is everyone fussing over opting-out of programming packages?

    The distributors are doing simple cost/benefit analysis in order to maximize their revenues and minimize their expenses. The distributors are the ones that negotiate how the channels get packaged. Not the consumer.
     
  19. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    May 28, 2004
    Sorry about the rantiness. I do tend to get enpassioned at times :)

    When I say big business I mean both the distributors and programmers otherwise I will refer to one or the other. In the future I will just refer to the Pay TV industry so I do not lump every business together.

    I see Pay TV as a utility to most people (not all of course LOL) that they can no longer live without. It's a shame that TV has become so essential to so many people but that is another topic for another day.

    The Pay TV industry knows they have a captive audiance. They know most people are not happy with the average price pushing $75 a month for just basic type programs. Are they doing anything that other businesses do without competition? Nope which is why competition is so important and why they fear it so much.

    IMHO Dish was allowed to circumvent existing contracts and such to create the Family Package in an attempt to head off ala-cart which was using the "smut card" to try and force change.

    Response from Pay TV.... There.... you now have a cheap family package so get off our backs! Some will say that Dish is just responding to the needs of it's customers but they could never have done this without the ok of the programmers. Why stop at just a family pack if Dish is just responding to the wants and needs of their customers?

    The entire family package came about and was set up in record time just to remove the rug from those pushing for choice using the example that some may not want certain channels due to objectionable content.

    While I'm glad we have the family pack please do not think that the only reason we have it is some nobel just cause by Dish and the programmers :)

    If enough people want ESPN removed and placed in it's own package will Dish do that? *smiles*

    -JB
     
  20. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    Jul 21, 2002
    Any business exists to create profit for its owners. Public companies have a responsibility to maximize that profit.

    You cannot argue that there has never been a company that has fleeced its customers. If public evidence is to believed, Enron executives systematically manipulated California energy prices to maximize customers' bills. I wonder if you would argue that the makers of Enzyte (http://www.quackwatch.org/02ConsumerProtection/enzyte.html) have their customers' best interests at heart.

    I would never suggest that mistreatment of customers is commonplace, and it definitely isn't good for a company's long-term prospects. A wise, forward-thinking company treats its customers as valued assets to be kept pleased or at least placated. But customers are never as important as owners.
     
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