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HD carriage dispute w/ ABC/ESPN/Disney


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#51 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:40 AM

And here I was wondering why the hell Handy Manny was SD this morning...

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#52 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:56 AM

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.

Cable started with "community antenna" service ... basically shared antenna rental. Each customer paid a few dollars per month for the infrastructure to simply receive an OTA signal and retransmit it via coax to subscribers. The monthly cost was a lot less than buying and maintaining the antenna and tower needed to receive the signal oneself in the rural areas CATV started in. The benefit to the customer was a clear(er) signal. The benefit to the station was more potential viewers.

Then cable expanded. Stations lost some viewers to cable networks and a recession hit all businesses. Stations saw cable companies making a nickle off of rebroadcasting their signal and even though it was helping their advertisers reach more people, they decided they wanted a cut. It snowballed from there.

Cable systems are now required to offer a cheap "lifeline" service including local stations. Free would be nice but the infrastructure isn't free. Someone has to pay to catch the signal, amplify it and deliver it to homes.

I'd like to see free satellite service as well. Every channel that contains advertising should live off of its advertising and not charge me! But that isn't going to happen either. Programmers have discovered a revenue stream and now that they are addicted to getting ad money and carriage fees there is no way to break the habit. :(

DISH will have to pay for the ABC/Disney HD fees ... hopefully a fair rate. It would be nice if providers would just see the value of getting their feeds in front of customers ... but they want cash and viewers. And that's just the way it is.

#53 OFFLINE   Hunter844

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 05:34 AM

Well look at the brite side...here in a few months Dish can add them back and claim they've added 4 NEW HD CHANNELS!!!!

#54 OFFLINE   tedb3rd

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:48 AM

Good point Hunter!! They can count those channels twice!

But the irritating part is that television (delivery of programming) industry seems to have cornered themselves into bundling channels by parent company/provider and now it's harming consumers. At first, it might have been an advantage--like buy one get one half price... But now it's gotten to the point where it's like you must buy the door and frame also when all you need/want is the doorknob... I know that the SD channels are still available for now but if they are running into this garbage with HD then I'm guessing it's going to be round 2 when SD renewal comes along. Too bad they can't offer more al-carte' or even a 'cartoon package' etc., etc. Sirius/XM has managed to do that and I love it...

But if my kids have to endure standard definition for a few days/weeks if it means my price not increasing.. Well then, it sucks to be a kid for a little while. I think there's a reason that Dish is cheaper than cable... This is probably one of the reasons. If people want fewer 'down channels' they can go to cable... and pay more.

#55 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:56 AM

According to the other site, E*'s statement about this deal states that they are the low price leader by offering "free HD for life" so they cannot afford to pay fees when they are raised by large amounts. Disney's official statement cites a court decision in washington as upholding their position to ask the amount that they are for the channels in question. Because of the fact that I have not dropped the platinum channels, I still pay the same for HD service this month that I did last month. I am sure that both ends are working toward a solution to the disagreement but, I also hope that Disney understands that a court decision alone is not always enough to pressure Charlie into doing what you want. Just ask TIVO.
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#56 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:11 AM

For me it's not a question of getting satellite for free, even the OTA channels. What I object to is broadcasters demanding they be paid twice for the same content because one source is SD and the other HD.

I know we aren't near that point yet, but if DISH or DTV had HD receivers for everyone, they could tell ABC to forget getting paid for SD and just give everyone the HD feed only. HD receivers feed an SD TV just fine.

In reference to earlier comments on the early days of cable, where I grew up the cable companies (initially there were several small ones) had to put their antennas on the top of surrounding mountains and feed the signal to the town below. You couldn't put up a tower tall enough at home to get a signal. Still true in that city.

#57 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 11:57 AM

I totally disagree. .


I'm not sure why you would totally disagree with what I was saying.

Your local OTA channel provider gives away their signal to the public for free (yes you have to buy a TV and antenna to watch), but they make money through various means such as charging for advertisements. This is why they give that signal away.

The cable/SAT company wants to rebroadcast that to customers because they know their customers want to receive it. Some customers don't want to put up an antenna, others can't receive the signal for various reasons.

IF the cable/SAT company gave the rebroadcast OTA locals for free OR charged only a minimal infrastructure fee to cover their equipment costs... then that would be fine.

BUT... cable/SAT companies make money by charging you more than it costs them to provide those retransmissions of the OTA that they receive for free by picking them up OTA themselves.

They have no legal right to do that unless the OTA gives them permission. And as I said, in my area the choice given was "pay us for the retransmission if you are going to make profit OR give the channels free to your customers as you get them free from us".

It's really about fair use at this point... and applies to things other than just TV.

Back to the topic here... Disney is (per their court case apparently) taking the position that Dish hasn't been paying properly for the HD versions of some of their channels. I'd rather the HD be "free" to me for buying the SD channel... but Disney has the same right to ask for more money.

Dish, of course, has the right to not want to pay... and lose the channels. I hope the channels come back... but am not sure which way this will go.

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#58 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:32 PM

Was there cable TV during the cutover to color TV?


It wasn't called "cable" back then. It was CATV - Community Antenna TV. a company would set up a big tower on a hill in a town, stick a bunch of antennas on it, pull in stations that could not be received with a roof top antenna and distribute the signal through out the community.

A lot of folks still had B&W TVs at this point. Color sets didn't start selling in large number until the late 1960s when their prices started to fall. This is a bit like HDTV where there are still a lot of people using their old CRT SD sets.

One difference is that the CATV operators didn't pay the stations for their signals at that time. The stations saw it as an advantage to them to get their signals out to more viewers. So the cable operators didn't have to make much more of an investment to carry color signals. Perhaps the hardware needed to be a bit more sophisticated to carry the color signal.

I recall when CATV first came to my small town at the eastern end of Long Island, people found they could point their antennas at the amplifier boxes hanging on the poles outside their homes and get free service! Better hardware resolved that problem.

#59 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:47 PM

I totally disagree.

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.


That is an interesting analogy. Imagine if Amazon charged FedEX for the right to carry an item I ordered from Amazon. Of course FedEX would have to pass that additional charge on to me, so it would be like Amazon charging me for the privilege of being an Amazon customer. Of course FedEX could refuse to pay that charge preventing Amazon from delivering the item I ordered.

#60 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:02 PM

IF the cable/SAT company gave the rebroadcast OTA locals for free OR charged only a minimal infrastructure fee to cover their equipment costs... then that would be fine.

BUT... cable/SAT companies make money by charging you more than it costs them to provide those retransmissions of the OTA that they receive for free by picking them up OTA themselves.

I'd have to argue the "more than it costs" assumption. Infrastructure isn't cheap. EchoStar is operating 160 fiber points of presence to get their signals back to one of the 12 uplink centers they operate for DISH. Due to satellite configurations it is not always the nearest one (although with the replacement of the two uplink E-7 with the seven uplink E-14 it is more likely). The fiber network and additional uplink centers are a cost that is there solely to support locals. DISH has six centers unique to E-12 at 61.5 due to it's spotbeam design. That costs money.

They have no legal right to do that unless the OTA gives them permission.

That is where the law needs to be changed. But that is a windmill that isn't worth tilting at.

Back to the topic here... Disney is (per their court case apparently) taking the position that Dish hasn't been paying properly for the HD versions of some of their channels. I'd rather the HD be "free" to me for buying the SD channel... but Disney has the same right to ask for more money.

The ESPN lawsuit (as noted near the top of the thread) was over payment. DISH paid for rights to "all feeds" of the ESPN networks it carried. When HD was introduced DISH played the "all feeds" card and demanded carriage of the HD feeds at no extra cost. ESPN balked wanting separate payment for their (then) unique ESPN and ESPN2 feeds (they have since gone to simulcast). See you in court.

What I don't understand is how DISH carried the channels for so long if they were not paying. ABC/Disney could have deauthed DISH's receivers just as easily the day DISH added those channels to the DISH system as now. ABC/Disney *allowed* DISH to carry those channels. And now?

I suspect that ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD are being paid for thanks to the initial ruling of the court saying that they are (or were) separate feeds.

#61 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:19 PM

Imagine if Amazon charged FedEX for the right to carry an item I ordered from Amazon. Of course FedEX would have to pass that additional charge on to me, so it would be like Amazon charging me for the privilege of being an Amazon customer. Of course FedEX could refuse to pay that charge preventing Amazon from delivering the item I ordered.

Not quite accurate ... You're paying Amazon for the item. Amazon is paying FedEX for delivery. You're not paying both companies.

What is closer to satellite carriage is not you paying Amazon, but you paying FedEX for the delivery of an item they picked up from Amazon. They are providing a valuable service getting it to you. But who paid Amazon for the item? Did FedEX just pick it up off of the dock without Amazon's permission? What right do you or FedEX have to take the item from Amazon?

With broadcast the items would be on an OTA signal. Your right to take Amazon's "items" would be that you reside close enough to pick it up and they offer the items (a requirement of their FCC license) for free to anyone who can pick them up. Anyone except FedEX and UPS. If FedEX or UPS pulls up to the mythical "free items" bin outside of the warehouse the "for sale" sign goes up. When cable or satellite try to pick up a signal from the "free OTA broadcast" bin they get hit by laws that don't apply to local individuals.

Your right to the free items within the coverage area is secondary to the delivery method. Offered free via OTA isn't offered free via a carrier. But I'm tilting at windmills again.

#62 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:59 PM

Well, let me reiterate:

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.

...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.


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#63 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:21 PM

As long as there are laws supporting the practice of OTA broadcasters charging for their signals and withholding them at will we're just tilting at windmills.

#64 OFFLINE   GrumpyBear

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:25 PM

As long as there are laws supporting the practice of OTA broadcasters charging for their signals and withholding them at will we're just tilting at windmills.


+1

#65 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:31 PM

As long as there are laws supporting the practice of OTA broadcasters charging for their signals and withholding them at will we're just tilting at windmills.

I'm looking for more people to write their Congressman and two Senators. Since they aren't windmills, poking them with a lance a few times doesn't hurt. Of course, by myself I can't compete with the media conglomerates and their lobbyists. But if we all just ignore what's going on with issues we care about, then we get the government we deserve.

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#66 OFFLINE   gor88

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:47 PM

I agree with the login of phrelin and James Long.

Cable started as community antenna television. You weren't paying for content, but rather supporting a community antenna infrastructure and allowing the company providing it to make a fair profit. They should charge for locals to cover equipment and personnel expenses to deliver to us. I would love them for absolutely free, but realize they need to cover expenses and make a reasonable profit.

The OTA stations weren't able to get this money until Congress enacted laws to force retransmission fee negotiations.

Just to note, I was told several years ago that the FOX, WB and UPN (at the time) did not charge rebroadcast fees in the Jackson market. The employee I talked to said that it was much more important to get as many eyeballs as possible for their stations. Hmmm, novel concept.

#67 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:55 PM

Stations have the easy choice (every three years) of "Must Carry" or "Consent to Carry". If a station chooses "Must Carry" their signal MUST be carried - but they can't charge.
PBS and other non-comm stations are automatic must carries and cannot choose "consent".

If a station wants carriage over cash they should just elect "Must Carry" and enjoy the eyeballs.

#68 OFFLINE   Flashing_12

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:23 PM

well, for me the HD carriage issue is completely unacceptable and we will likely go back to DirecTV as a result. As a part of the old TurboHD Silver package, we happily received these HD channels and their SD counterparts...and nothing else. It was fine for us, but since the HD versions are gone, the Dish geniuses thought it was a good idea to tick me off by taking away the SD versions unless I upgrade at an additional fee to one of the AT programs. BS. We want out and we will not pay the $75 ETF they are asking for. We've already contacted our local consumer reporter at the local NBC affiliate and I doubt that dish wants a sobbing 7 year old girl on TV saying that Dish Network took Disney away from her. They broke their contract with me and I will go to the competition.

#69 OFFLINE   Ohioankev

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:38 PM

So after TWO not one price increases they pull these HD channels and have the audacity to say that it was because Disney was asking to much. Not that I care about these channels but come on think about DISH networks reason.

#70 OFFLINE   scooper

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:48 PM

Flashing_12 - I doubt you read the contract - and I wouldn't be surprised if you end up paying the $75 ETF to boot.
You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

#71 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:47 AM

So after TWO not one price increases they pull these HD channels and have the audacity to say that it was because Disney was asking to much. Not that I care about these channels but come on think about DISH networks reason.


To be fair... Disney pulled the channels, not Dish.

As James clarified/reiterated... this stems from back when Dish first launched these particular channels in HD... and it would appear Disney is saying they always wanted more money for these "separate" HD feeds, while Dish thinks they have a contract for "all" Disney/ABC/ESPN feeds.

Also, as James noted, what is weird is that IF Disney was right... why did Dish ever get to launch these HD channels in the first place? We've had them for a couple of years now that Disney apparently is now arguing they've never been paid for it would seem. That seems odd.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be mad at Dish... but given the situation here, I think you either should be mad at Disney OR mad at both. No way is this a Dish-only scenario for blame.

Either they both are screwy... or Disney pulled a fast one.

And regardless of how we feel... I think it is risky for Disney to take this approach (cutting the feeds) right now... as absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder in the case of TV channels! We adjust our habits and find we don't miss some channels as much as we might think... and then Disney undermines their whole position.

This is kind of what happened with Rainbow and Voom. Not to kick that dead horse... but Dish wanted to only carry/pay for the Voom channels that were the most popular... Rainbow said "all or nothing"... and the end result was that Voom went away and though some of us think fondly and miss some of the channels... we've gotten past it and Rainbow has been hurt more by the lack of carriage of those channels than Dish has.

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#72 OFFLINE   Jeff_DML

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:00 AM

my crack dealer stopped sellling me crack...

darn kids are addicted to this channel and now it is gone since I have the HD only package:mad:

If lose HGTV too it will be trouble, was just happy that my bill dropped $5
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#73 OFFLINE   habsfan66

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:30 AM

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.


Can you even buy an SDTV any more? Hard to imagine it needs to be around much longer. And now that 3D is coming, HD will soon be the old norm.

#74 OFFLINE   paulman182

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 09:13 AM

Can you even buy an SDTV any more? Hard to imagine it needs to be around much longer. And now that 3D is coming, HD will soon be the old norm.


I've seen several 7-inch and under portable LCD TVs.

I know, not really what you are talking about, but technically they still make SDTVs.

#75 OFFLINE   JWKessler

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 09:25 AM

With broadcast the items would be on an OTA signal. Your right to take Amazon's "items" would be that you reside close enough to pick it up and they offer the items (a requirement of their FCC license) for free to anyone who can pick them up. Anyone except FedEX and UPS. If FedEX or UPS pulls up to the mythical "free items" bin outside of the warehouse the "for sale" sign goes up. When cable or satellite try to pick up a signal from the "free OTA broadcast" bin they get hit by laws that don't apply to local individuals.

Your right to the free items within the coverage area is secondary to the delivery method. Offered free via OTA isn't offered free via a carrier. But I'm tilting at windmills again.


Assume I live behind a hill (I do), which would require me to erect a very expensive tower to pick up the free signals from my local stations - which are only 20 miles from me. I can do that and the local stations don't care. But if my neighbors and I decide to split the cost and erect that tower and pay a monthly fee to finance and maintain it, then the local channels can charge us for the signal.

Now I know why I could never be a lawyer.




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