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HD carriage dispute w/ ABC/ESPN/Disney


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#26 OFFLINE   kariato

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:08 PM

Maybe Dish should offer a special sportless package like the family plan for $5 less a month as a opening shot. Given ESPN lock on being in the basic plan that would scare the living daylights out of them given that I would switch in a second to that plan. In other countries sport are usually not in the base package. The package aimed at Women/Arts including Hallmark, Bravo, A&E, TLC, Oxygen. It would be a great marketing campaign. I know a lot of women like sports but a lot don't. Creating a sportless package would be a hit.

Edited by kariato, 22 June 2010 - 04:15 PM.


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#27 OFFLINE   JoeTheDragon

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:14 PM

I realize that ESPN - and Disney - are important channels for many Dish customers. However, not everyone is a sports fan or has kids. So why should we be forced to pay higher monthly fees to ESPN or Disney for expensive channels we will NEVER watch?

Perhaps a separate package containing these "semi-premium" channels could be created. People who really wanted ESPN or Disney could pay for the privilege, giving the rest of us a break. I see it a bit like the Platinum package. You have the option to pay a bit more for these channels if you want them, or if you don't care about them you can chose not to subscribe.

I remember when I subscribed to Bell ExpressVU they had named packages like Basics, News, Sports, Kids, Music, Entertainment, Learning etc and grouped several related channels into each package. When you subscribed you could pick the number of packages you wanted, then chose packages until you hit your limit. It seemed like a smart way to handle the situation that was much more fair than what we have.


I remember when Disney was a premium channel.
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#28 OFFLINE   GrumpyBear

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:29 PM

Will likely never happen. Many of the providers dictate where (what level) they want their channels so they can count as many possible victims, er, subscribers as possible for their advertisers. (Which affects the rates they inflate for, er, charge advertisers.)


You are right about that. Highly doubtful that package rates would go down, by removing ESPN and Disney into Sports and Family/Kids packages. They would include enough channels into the Sports and Family packages that didn't really belong, and get people to buy them anyways, and end up charging more for it. There is NO WAY networks are going to allow for any kind of a la carte system.
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Glad we at least kept the SD versions until they settle this. Don't watch the channels in question much at all, ABC Family is one of the weaker HD stations as lots of the shows look horrible, but there are some weekend movies the wife and kids like, and I use it for my 3pm alarm clock, when I am home.
If they screwed up ESPN/ESPN2 HD right now I would be really upset, smack dab in the middle of the World Cup, there would be lots of yelling, and both Dish and ABC/Disney would be the bad guys, for millions of users.

#29 OFFLINE   bnborg

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:31 PM

Maybe Dish should offer a special sportless package like the family plan for $5 less a month as a opening shot. Given ESPN lock on being in the basic plan that would scare the living daylights out of them given that I would switch in a second to that plan. In other countries sport are usually not in the base package. The package aimed at Women/Arts including Hallmark, Bravo, A&E, TLC, Oxygen. It would be a great marketing campaign. I know a lot of women like sports but a lot don't. Creating a sportless package would be a hit.


I would go for a lower priced, sportless package in a minute.
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#30 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:50 PM

You and I might think HD should come with the SD feed... but the channel providers did expend extra money to get those feeds started... and they know the public wants them... so I'm not surprised they are asking for more money.


We are at a point where HD is close to becoming the broadcast standard. I remember when color TV was at that point. It cost more to produce color programs but neither the broadcast station nor the cable company tried charging the viewer more to watch. It's time everyone involved in delivering TV to viewers realizes HD is the new normal. DISH has taken a step in that direction with Free HD for Life. And today is a giant step backward.

#31 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:24 PM

Why is Disney the 'bad guy"?


Did you read my whole post, or just the first line that you quoted?

The very next line of my post I explained the companies like Disney have spent money to upgrade to HD transmission so I didn't see it as a surprise that they wanted more money.

"Bad guy" is in quotes because of public perception. IF Dish had cut the channels because they didn't want them, then Dish would appear to be the bad guy... but in this scenario, Disney has cut the feed because they didn't feel they were being paid for these particular channels... so they do appear to be the bad guy, whether they are or are not.

Dish didn't drop these channels... Disney cut the feed. That's why they are the "bad guy" in the scenario.

What if you owned a house and you were leasing it to someone. Before the lease came up for renewal you looked at your costs to own that house and what profit you wanted to make and sent the increase to your tenant a couple months before. The tenant wasn't happy with that increase and proposed a lower amount. This continued going back and forth right up to the end date for the lease, but you like this tenant and would like to keep them so you say they can stay there for a while and continue to negotiate. Months go by and you're still not coming to an agreement and you realize that your tenant has nothing to lose by being stedfast, he's still in your home and isn't paying your increase. So how long would you let them stay there before you pull the plug and kick them out?


Everything you wrote here was completely appropriate and understandable from a landlord's point of view...

BUT

What if the tenant was on a fixed income... and either an elderly person OR a somehow disabled one. Do you not think public opinion would frown upon a landlord for evicting such a tenant even if it was completely just and understandable legally?

That's all I was saying... Sometimes public perception means as much to a company as does being in the right.

Disney might need more money, and be justified in asking... and justified in pulling their feed if Dish doesn't pay more... BUT in this economy, when all of Dish's customers are already griping about this year's price increases... how many on here would happily pay more to Dish to keep these Disney channels on air right now?

IF Dish raised rates yet again to cover these channels, wouldn't everyone scream? So... Disney in a down economy is asking for more money and threatening by pulling the channels if they don't get more money... so to you and I who do not have more money right now, Disney looks like the bad guy for not pinching pennies on their end.

The risk too is that the channels they pulled might not be missed. Customers *might* find they are ok without those channels IF they are off for an extended period of time.

Consider... Dish killed off the Smithsonian HD channel a year or so ago... and people griped at first... but the noise died down and I think I'm the only one to bring it up in many months here as an example!

So... in a dispute for money... Disney takes the risk that customers will complain more about losing the channels than they would about having to pay more for them... and in this economy, that might be a risky maneuver.

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#32 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:26 PM

We are at a point where HD is close to becoming the broadcast standard. I remember when color TV was at that point. It cost more to produce color programs but neither the broadcast station nor the cable company tried charging the viewer more to watch. It's time everyone involved in delivering TV to viewers realizes HD is the new normal. DISH has taken a step in that direction with Free HD for Life. And today is a giant step backward.


Was there cable TV during the cutover to color TV?

I'm sure advertisements were sold at higher rates for color programs than B&W... so broadcasters probably made up some money there in those days.

HD really isn't yet the new normal either... Well more than half of Dish's customers are SD-only customers. I suspect similar ratios are true of Directv and various cable outlets.

Lots of folks got those digital TV adapters to use on existing TVs too.. so lots of OTA people are still in SD land.

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#33 OFFLINE   bnborg

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:39 PM

I didn't remember cable being around in the 50's either.
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#34 OFFLINE   RAD

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:42 PM

I think even Disney knows it would be a mistake for them to pull their main ESPN channels as they are the "bad guy" in this scenario since they are the ones cutting the feed to Dish.

Meanwhile... anyone who thinks that dropping ESPN channels would result in your bill dropping is sorely mistaken. There is virtually no precedent that says if channels are "lost" forever that a package tier would drop in price.

Frankly, I thought this is where we were a couple of years ago... channel providers wanting more money for their HD feeds than their SD feeds... so I'm surprised that this has only come through with the suit from Disney/ESPN here.

You and I might think HD should come with the SD feed... but the channel providers did expend extra money to get those feeds started... and they know the public wants them... so I'm not surprised they are asking for more money.

I hope this gets resolved before it becomes even nastier... but it does seem to address why Dish still hasn't had ESPNUHD.

It might also explain why DirecTV didn't get ESPNUHD until very recently... maybe DirecTV was waiting as well, but just they decided to pay up instead of fight it like Dish usually does.

I'm not naive, though... "we want to keep our prices down to our customers" sounds a lot like "do it for the children" and we all know that when people say things like that... it's never the driving force behind the fight.


Did you read my whole post, or just the first line that you quoted?

The very next line of my post I explained the companies like Disney have spent money to upgrade to HD transmission so I didn't see it as a surprise that they wanted more money.


Acutally it wasn't until the fourth section in your post where you mention the costy to upgrade to HD.

"Bad guy" is in quotes because of public perception. IF Dish had cut the channels because they didn't want them, then Dish would appear to be the bad guy... but in this scenario, Disney has cut the feed because they didn't feel they were being paid for these particular channels... so they do appear to be the bad guy, whether they are or are not.

Dish didn't drop these channels... Disney cut the feed. That's why they are the "bad guy" in the scenario.



Everything you wrote here was completely appropriate and understandable from a landlord's point of view...

BUT

What if the tenant was on a fixed income... and either an elderly person OR a somehow disabled one. Do you not think public opinion would frown upon a landlord for evicting such a tenant even if it was completely just and understandable legally?

That's all I was saying... Sometimes public perception means as much to a company as does being in the right.

Disney might need more money, and be justified in asking... and justified in pulling their feed if Dish doesn't pay more... BUT in this economy, when all of Dish's customers are already griping about this year's price increases... how many on here would happily pay more to Dish to keep these Disney channels on air right now?

IF Dish raised rates yet again to cover these channels, wouldn't everyone scream? So... Disney in a down economy is asking for more money and threatening by pulling the channels if they don't get more money... so to you and I who do not have more money right now, Disney looks like the bad guy for not pinching pennies on their end.

The risk too is that the channels they pulled might not be missed. Customers *might* find they are ok without those channels IF they are off for an extended period of time.

Consider... Dish killed off the Smithsonian HD channel a year or so ago... and people griped at first... but the noise died down and I think I'm the only one to bring it up in many months here as an example!

So... in a dispute for money... Disney takes the risk that customers will complain more about losing the channels than they would about having to pay more for them... and in this economy, that might be a risky maneuver.


OK, so the landlord might take some heat but its his right to evict someone if they can't afford their lodging. The public might not be as rough on the landlord when they hear that he gave the tenant 6 months to come to terms with the new rent before eviction, he had plenty of time to find someplace they could afford.

As for your comment about all the Dish customers griping about this years increase I see enough posts from folks still asking about spending a couple hundred on a new 922 and paying a $17/month STB fee so I don't think all the Dish customers are out on the corner begging for money to pay next months bill.

Is Disney taking a risk, probably, but guess it's a risk that their accounts and PR folks said it was worth to take.

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#35 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:48 PM

I can't imagine any company not using the fullest leverage possible.

It would be bad timing indeed. ESPN doesn't want a repeat of the DIRECTV.vs.VERSUS hockey heartbreak.

Then again, the relative impact may depend on how ultimately popular the World Cup turns out to be. DISH might counter with a "preview" of the channels from the Espanol package.

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#36 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:12 PM

Was there cable TV during the cutover to color TV?

Yes. Cable television started in 1948 ... prime time on the networks was all color in 1966-67. Cable continued to grow from it's "community antenna" roots to rebroadcasting satellite delivered programming as TV continued to be more colorful. There was plenty of overlap during the process - with cable helping in some ways by delivering a good signal to those TVs so color reception was possible.

BTW: There was no "cutover". With color compatible with B&W TVs shows and networks converted as funds were available. Consumers did the same. Separate feeds were not needed for color vs B&W.

I'm sure advertisements were sold at higher rates for color programs than B&W... so broadcasters probably made up some money there in those days.

Color programs attracted viewers ... advertisers pay for viewers.

HD really isn't yet the new normal either... Well more than half of Dish's customers are SD-only customers. I suspect similar ratios are true of Directv and various cable outlets.

I'd like to see better numbers on this. Unfortunately unlike the movement of TV to color the movement of TV to HD isn't compatible with the past. "HD" customers like me have more SD receivers than HD receivers. And even though we are years into the availability of HD it remains a premium service that too many don't see the value in paying extra for.

One company's analysis places DISH's HD penetration at 3% in 2006 and 20% in 2009 with a prediction of 55% by 2016.

From another source: "A research group conducted a survey and discovered that currently 46% of US households have at least one HDTV in their home. The increase in adoption is due to several factors including the shift away from analog transmission, the decreasing price of HDTVs, and the inability to purchase any other kind of television."

Falling back to the color argument: "Color" becoming the definition of TV is when every set displays a color picture in color. "HD" becoming the definition of TV is when every set displays a HD picture in HD. It has only been a few years since B&W TVs were still a general retail item. We're a long way from every regularly used TV in every home displaying a HD signal (in HD).

One TV isn't enough to say HD is the definition of TV.

#37 OFFLINE   nmetro

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:17 PM

Was there cable TV during the cutover to color TV?

I'm sure advertisements were sold at higher rates for color programs than B&W... so broadcasters probably made up some money there in those days.

HD really isn't yet the new normal either... Well more than half of Dish's customers are SD-only customers. I suspect similar ratios are true of Directv and various cable outlets.

Lots of folks got those digital TV adapters to use on existing TVs too.. so lots of OTA people are still in SD land.


To your first question, cable TV was more of a means to improve broadcast TV signals in fringe areas and was not readily available at the time color broadcast television was available on ABC, CBS and NBC. NBC went full color n the early 1960s, ABC and CBS mid 1960s. At least in New york, independent channels also started showing some color programs in the mid 1960s. We did not get cable until the late 1960s and it was for the purpose of improving signal quality for the New York and Connecticut TV stations.

As fro color TV, most people did not purchase color TV until the late 1960s. Though, our family bit the bullet in 1965, when our old black and white set finally gave out. First thing I saw in color, a New York Mets game on WOR (now WWOR from New York).

As for commercials, many aired in black and white well after broadcast stations were converting to color. But, by the end of 1966 pretty much all commercials were in color.

So, a little bit of broadcast history. By the way, who needed cable (as we have today), the seven New York channels seemed to have more on them back then, then 200+ channels have now. Our ESPN was WPIX and WWOR, our TCM was WNEW, WPIX and WWOR, our DYI, Discover, National Geographic, et. al was WNDT (Now WNET), our Nickelodeon and Disney channel was WPIX, WNEW and WWOR. Our CNN and Weather Channel was the local evening news. Syndicated shows were on WPIX, WNEW and WWOR. And the network channels showed game shows, movies, kids programming, soap operas, news ,parades and a once in a while talk show.

And guess what? It was all free over the air.

#38 OFFLINE   nmetro

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:25 PM

By the way, as for the topic, corporate greed pretty much sums it up. I do not know which is worse, broadcast stations, whose licenses are technically publicly owned asking for carriage fees or private cable channels who keep raising their fees by using excuses like professional sports salaries or "production costs". While in both cases, they air more and more commercials, get higher and higher rates, but this income is not enough. Hence, why I spend most of my time watching TCM, Fox Movie Channel and now EPIX1 and EPIX2. Add in the Encore owned channels. Most everything else on the other cable channels are repeats of recently run network shows. We pay more for less variety.

#39 OFFLINE   KalebD

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:36 PM

this is already is huge issue for me. 3 of those channels are on almost constantly at my house.


Ditto. My Daughter and I watch Disney at least an hour a day. :new_cussi:new_cussi:new_cussi:new_cussi
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#40 OFFLINE   coldsteel

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:44 PM

Ditto. My Daughter and I watch Disney at least an hour a day. :new_cussi:new_cussi:new_cussi:new_cussi


Is Mickey fricking Mouse that much better in HD? :nono2:
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#41 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:51 PM

Then again, the relative impact may depend on how ultimately popular the World Cup turns out to be. DISH might counter with a "preview" of the channels from the Espanol package.

MDIAL is already free to all customers ... the Spanish networks are included in AT 200/HD 200 and above. IF ESPN becomes part of this they could air in preview.

Cutting off ESPN during the Nationwide race this weekend would probably have a bigger effect than losing Soccer.

#42 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:57 PM

By the way, as for the topic, corporate greed pretty much sums it up. I do not know which is worse, broadcast stations, whose licenses are technically publicly owned asking for carriage fees or private cable channels who keep raising their fees by using excuses like professional sports salaries or "production costs". While in both cases, they air more and more commercials, get higher and higher rates, but this income is not enough. Hence, why I spend most of my time watching TCM, Fox Movie Channel and now EPIX1 and EPIX2. Add in the Encore owned channels. Most everything else on the other cable channels are repeats of recently run network shows. We pay more for less variety.

There aren't a lot of channels out there that you can watch that are not owned or controlled by The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, News Corporation, NBC Universal, National Amusements, Inc. (the Redstone family which has controlling interest in CBS/Showtime and Viacom), Liberty Media, and Comcast. In fact, if you add Sony, there isn't a lot of content out there that isn't totally or partially owned or controlled by one or more of those companies.

Hence TCM is owned by Time Warner, the Fox Movie Channel is owned by News Corporation, Encore is owned by Liberty Media, the EPIX channels are partially owned by Viacom subsidiary Paramount and MGM which is owned by Sony and Comcast.

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#43 OFFLINE   purtman

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:01 PM

Are we now going to change the sticky thread above to say "DISH Network Becomes First and Only TV Provider to Offer 196 National HD Channels"?:lol:

#44 OFFLINE   gor88

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:32 PM

I remember when Disney was a premium channel.


So do I. When Sammons Communications, the former cable company in McComb, MS, went from 12 channels in the basic package to 25 in 1987, Disney was also made available but as a premium channel for $6-7 a month extra. A few years later it magically dropped into the basic package.

As to this whole mess about content providers and their greed, I would LOVE to see Congress (the opposite of progress :D ) pass a disclosure law mandating cable and satellite providers to show how much they have to pay per subscriber for each channel. If channels are negotiated in groups, the price for the group and which channels were required to be added in order to secure broadcast rights. I would bet that such a disclosure would cause a LOT more people to hold righteous anger against the content providers.

#45 OFFLINE   gor88

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:43 PM

By the way, as for the topic, corporate greed pretty much sums it up. I do not know which is worse, broadcast stations, whose licenses are technically publicly owned asking for carriage fees or private cable channels who keep raising their fees by using excuses like professional sports salaries or "production costs". While in both cases, they air more and more commercials, get higher and higher rates, but this income is not enough. Hence, why I spend most of my time watching TCM, Fox Movie Channel and now EPIX1 and EPIX2. Add in the Encore owned channels. Most everything else on the other cable channels are repeats of recently run network shows. We pay more for less variety.


<soapbox value="on">
IMHO, Congress should have NEVER allowed OTA affiliates to get jack from cable and satellite companies!!! They were granted permission to use the public airwaves for the public interest! It is INSANE that I can pick up the OTA signal for free, but have to pay the OTA channel money if I happen to receive the same channel from the cable company. :eek2::nono::nono2::rolleyes:

Back in the late 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's, before there was an abundance of non-OTA networks, you might could have made the argument that cable companies were making money off the back of OTA stations. However, in this day and age, the local channels are more or less loss leaders. It's the non OTA channels that the masses subscribe to cable and satellite for, not the locals. The locals are just expected to be included as a courtesy, more or less.
<soapbox value="off">

Edited by gor88, 22 June 2010 - 07:49 PM.


#46 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:46 PM

Are we now going to change the sticky thread above to say "DISH Network Becomes First and Only TV Provider to Offer 196 National HD Channels"?:lol:

DISH added seven PPV channels last week ... so there has been gain as well.

#47 OFFLINE   GrumpyBear

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:50 PM

Is Mickey fricking Mouse that much better in HD? :nono2:

Whats funny about that, is That 70's show, looked better on the SD version instead of the HD version. ABC Family and Disney, have had some of the poorer HD feeds. I hope this gets resolved soon, will watch in SD until then.

#48 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:34 PM

Whats funny about that, is That 70's show, looked better on the SD version instead of the HD version. ABC Family and Disney, have had some of the poorer HD feeds. I hope this gets resolved soon, will watch in SD until then.


As for PQ - Disney HD seems very nice on Directv and Time Warner, but ABC Family was never top notch. It has improved, though.

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#49 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 10:42 PM

IMHO, Congress should have NEVER allowed OTA affiliates to get jack from cable and satellite companies!!! They were granted permission to use the public airwaves for the public interest! It is INSANE that I can pick up the OTA signal for free, but have to pay the OTA channel money if I happen to receive the same channel from the cable company


I've said this before in other threads, but it bears repeating here.

I can't speak for all OTA or all markets... but here in my DMA.. years ago, the OTA channels were in a big fight with Time Warner over:

OTA was being given to customers free BUT Time Warner was charging customers for those same channels via cable. The local channels said essentially either give those OTA rebroadcasts for free to your customers OR pay us for retransmission if you are going to charge for them.

Ultimately, Time Warner (and by association once the precedent was set, satellite companies) decided to pay for retransmission so they could charge for the service.

So... while it might seem "unfair" to have to pay for "free" OTA... it is equally unfair for a satellite or cable company to capture that OTA for free and then sell it to you without paying the local station for the right to do so.

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#50 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:03 AM

I've said this before in other threads, but it bears repeating here.

I can't speak for all OTA or all markets... but here in my DMA.. years ago, the OTA channels were in a big fight with Time Warner over:

OTA was being given to customers free BUT Time Warner was charging customers for those same channels via cable. The local channels said essentially either give those OTA rebroadcasts for free to your customers OR pay us for retransmission if you are going to charge for them.

Ultimately, Time Warner (and by association once the precedent was set, satellite companies) decided to pay for retransmission so they could charge for the service.

So... while it might seem "unfair" to have to pay for "free" OTA... it is equally unfair for a satellite or cable company to capture that OTA for free and then sell it to you without paying the local station for the right to do so.

I totally disagree.

I "pay" the broadcast station by being counted among its viewers and am sold to their advertisers. I pay the cable or satellite company so I don't have to use a 800' tower with amplifying equipment to get the signal the FCC promised me would be free when they licensed the station exclusively for my area.

That's the broadcast model. A free signal broadcast to the air, but I have to pay for (a) the means to receive it (an antenna or the cable or satellite company's antenna and delivery system) and (B) the means to watch it (a TV).

Within the context of the FCC license for a broadcast station, the cable or satellite company is delivering the signal, not selling the content to me. They are selling a delivery service like UPS or FedEx. They have competition - let's liken an antenna to the Postal Service, and cable and satellite to UPS and FedEx. The moment the signal leaves the broadcast stations tower, it is supposed to be free to everyone within their DMA who can receive it. No one ever said that the means to receive it couldn't be a UPS or FedEx.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

"If you're good enough, they'll talk about you." - Tom Harmon
A GEEZER who remembers watching TV in 1951 and was an Echostar customer from 1988 to 2008, now a Dish Network customer.
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