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Are broadcast networks needed? (spin off conversation)


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104 replies to this topic

#61 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 04:18 PM

The current STELA law, as well as the previous SHVIA, prohibits the distribution of any OTA signal outside of its market except in very limited circumstances.

Incorrect.

It prevents using the statutory license to distribute an OTA signal outside of it's own market unless the circumstances are met.
The law does not prevent networks and stations from negotiating carriage outside of the statutory licensing structure.

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#62 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 06:07 PM

Incorrect.

It prevents using the statutory license to distribute an OTA signal outside of it's own market unless the circumstances are met.
The law does not prevent networks and stations from negotiating carriage outside of the statutory licensing structure.


How am I incorrect? Wouldn't negotiating around the statutory license be one of the limited exceptions? That is how, for example, a station could fill its schedule with programming that no other station had exclusive rights to and then it could get a satellite carrier to transmit its signal nationwide. I'm not aware of any station that is currently doing that.

At the Congressional hearings on STELA, there was a little discussion/debate between Charles Ergen and the NAB representative. Ergen wanted to have the law changed so that stations could be distributed nationwide, like newspapers. That was his analogy. The NAB representative said that was already possible if the station negotiated a separate agreement involving programming that no other station had exclusive rights to, like local news. Basically, Ergen said viewers wanted to watch news from other stations all across the nation. The NAB representative said that is already possible. Ergen said that it is too cumbersome to be switching stations on and off.

By the way, "its" is possessive--no apostrophe. "It's" is a contraction for "it is." Check a dictionary.

#63 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:24 PM

So now you know you're wrong you claim that was an "exception" and resort to grammar flames?

Oh well. As long as you agree with Greg and I that stations CAN be carried outside of their own market via satellite - and there is no law preventing such carriage - we're on the same page. STELA and the predecessors are PERMISSIVE laws, they provide a statutory license and allow carriage within that license, not restrictive laws that ban carriage.

#64 OFFLINE   scooper

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:17 PM

I like the note where someone said what needs to be fixed on DBS (and cable, by analogy) -

If the L-R filings of a broadcaster at the FCC cover a location - then they should be able to get it via pay-tv provider, This of course should EXCLUDE E-skip type reception and the like.
You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...

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

#65 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:58 PM

So now you know you're wrong you claim that was an "exception" and resort to grammar flames?

Oh well. As long as you agree with Greg and I that stations CAN be carried outside of their own market via satellite - and there is no law preventing such carriage - we're on the same page. STELA and the predecessors are PERMISSIVE laws, they provide a statutory license and allow carriage within that license, not restrictive laws that ban carriage.


Why do you need/want me to agree with anyone? I understand the law. I believe that you understand the law as well. I thought that this topic dealt with our opinions as to whether broadcast networks are needed, not a debate over what the law allows or does not allow. I thought that we all in this thread pretty much agreed on what the law says, but were debating what the law should be.

Whether you want to call it permissive or restrictive is a distinction without a difference. Can you cite to me one case where a court said that STELA or the predecessors are "permissive," rather than "restrictive"? I would like to read that opinion, if it exists.

I also have another question: What is your opinion on whether a satellite carrier may carry a distant digital signal from an eastern time zone and broadcast it into a western time zone? If so, under what circumstances?

#66 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 10:30 PM

OK, getting back to topic - the law that certain people (plural) in this thread seem to wish to strike down ...

The current STELA law, as well as the previous SHVIA, permitted the distribution of OTA signals outside of their own market using a statutory license under very limited circumstances. This carriage does not require the permission of the station carried nor the network with which the station is affiliated. The station/network cannot refuse to be carried as a distant. Use of these stations is not voluntary - therefore the stations need not be concerned with violating their affiliation agreements by providing a signal outside of their contract defined territories. (Through rewrites, the law has also been refined to attempt to exclude as many customers as possible who can receive the network some other way, including the 2004 change barring a distant signal being offered in markets where locals are offered that have a local station of the same network.)

Should this law be struck down or be allowed to expire distant network stations would cease to be available under the statutory license. Satellite providers would no longer be able to take the feed of any station without permission and would have to either find a station willing to violate their agreement with the network and other affiliates or make an agreement with the network that is willing to violate their prior agreement with affiliates.

Striking down the law would lead to LESS out of market carriage (reference: DISH losing permission to use the statutory license effective December 2006) not more.

DirecTV and DISH Network have been carrying network television via local stations for over 12 years. The networks have shown no interest in having their broadcast content shown in any other manner (other than reruns that have played on existing 'cable' distribution channels AFTER the original market exclusive network airings). Networks and their affiliates continue to support the affiliate distribution model and there is no sign that their support of that model will end.

Or are you expecting some judge to cherrypick an 11 year old law and strike out the parts that you don't like?

Edited by James Long, 19 July 2010 - 10:45 PM.


#67 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 11:56 PM

OK, getting back to topic - the law that certain people (plural) in this thread seem to wish to strike down ...

The current STELA law, as well as the previous SHVIA, permitted the distribution of OTA signals outside of their own market using a statutory license under very limited circumstances. This carriage does not require the permission of the station carried nor the network with which the station is affiliated. The station/network cannot refuse to be carried as a distant. Use of these stations is not voluntary - therefore the stations need not be concerned with violating their affiliation agreements by providing a signal outside of their contract defined territories. (Through rewrites, the law has also been refined to attempt to exclude as many customers as possible who can receive the network some other way, including the 2004 change barring a distant signal being offered in markets where locals are offered that have a local station of the same network.)

Should this law be struck down or be allowed to expire distant network stations would cease to be available under the statutory license. Satellite providers would no longer be able to take the feed of any station without permission and would have to either find a station willing to violate their agreement with the network and other affiliates or make an agreement with the network that is willing to violate their prior agreement with affiliates.

Striking down the law would lead to LESS out of market carriage (reference: DISH losing permission to use the statutory license effective December 2006) not more.

DirecTV and DISH Network have been carrying network television via local stations for over 12 years. The networks have shown no interest in having their broadcast content shown in any other manner (other than reruns that have played on existing 'cable' distribution channels AFTER the original market exclusive network airings). Networks and their affiliates continue to support the affiliate distribution model and there is no sign that their support of that model will end.

Or are you expecting some judge to cherrypick an 11 year old law and strike out the parts that you don't like?


I have another, related question that I would like to ask you or anyone else who can answer it. Many cable systems, during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, were routinely carrying distant network and independent stations. I personally observed this on one small cable system in the Monterey-Salinas market, and I have heard about many others that did this.

What law allowed the cable systems to do this? Or was there no law governing this behavior, so the cable systems simply grabbed the signal of any station that they wanted?

#68 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 01:29 AM

Hopefully we can get back to the topic of THIS THREAD soon ... but for humor ...

I have another, related question that I would like to ask you or anyone else who can answer it. Many cable systems, during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, were routinely carrying distant network and independent stations. I personally observed this on one small cable system in the Monterey-Salinas market, and I have heard about many others that did this.

The cable system I watched in the early eighties also had what today would be considered out of market stations on them. Applying today's terms to yesterday's practices may be misleading. One would need to find when Congress legally defined distants before assuming the stations were distants.

They were just stations ... received on the local CATV master antenna and with ONE exception the same selection that I could have received at home with the proper antenna. Pre-CATV many homes in the neighborhood had their own 30ft towers with an antenna. A rotor would have been needed to get all the channels.

There was only one station on the system that I believe was not receivable via a high end antenna. It was brought in by microwave from an antenna 12 miles away. OTA reception on a tall tower in that town. When the "distant" station was off the air one would occasionally see a station in Maine 800 miles away.

What law allowed the cable systems to do this? Or was there no law governing this behavior, so the cable systems simply grabbed the signal of any station that they wanted?

Perhaps you should ask in a cable forum? We focus on satellite around here.

For satellite there was no law and the companies did as they pleased until the networks and stations objected and took them to court to try to stop them. The outcome was Congress passing the original SHVA law providing statutory licenses and structure for carrying local broadcast stations using those licenses.

I suspect cable just did as they pleased until objections were raised and "significantly viewed" local stations were required in 70's and SYNDEX was required in the 90's (IIRC).

There are some crossovers in the law (the use of cable's Significantly Viewed list for satellite, for example) but most of the laws are separate and not quite equal between cable and satellite.

#69 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:07 AM

Hopefully we can get back to the topic of THIS THREAD soon ... but for humor ...
The cable system I watched in the early eighties also had what today would be considered out of market stations on them. Applying today's terms to yesterday's practices may be misleading. One would need to find when Congress legally defined distants before assuming the stations were distants.

They were just stations ... received on the local CATV master antenna and with ONE exception the same selection that I could have received at home with the proper antenna. Pre-CATV many homes in the neighborhood had their own 30ft towers with an antenna. A rotor would have been needed to get all the channels.

There was only one station on the system that I believe was not receivable via a high end antenna. It was brought in by microwave from an antenna 12 miles away. OTA reception on a tall tower in that town. When the "distant" station was off the air one would occasionally see a station in Maine 800 miles away.

Perhaps you should ask in a cable forum? We focus on satellite around here.

For satellite there was no law and the companies did as they pleased until the networks and stations objected and took them to court to try to stop them. The outcome was Congress passing the original SHVA law providing statutory licenses and structure for carrying local broadcast stations using those licenses.

I suspect cable just did as they pleased until objections were raised and "significantly viewed" local stations were required in 70's and SYNDEX was required in the 90's (IIRC).

There are some crossovers in the law (the use of cable's Significantly Viewed list for satellite, for example) but most of the laws are separate and not quite equal between cable and satellite.


The stations I am referring to were transmitted by microwave over hundreds of miles. There was a company in Monterey that operated a microwave system that was retransmitting stations from LA and SF, two cities about 400 miles apart. The stations were being supplied to smaller cities up and down the state of California. I am also aware of California stations being received in Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. These stations were not on the "significantly viewed" list for the communities where they were being received, and they would for the most part not be receivable on any 30-foot antenna on top of a mountain.

I am aware that cable and satellite are governed by different laws. However, these stations would be called "distants" today. Whether they were legally considered "distants," or anything else, in the past, I don't know.

Of course, satellite was generally doing what it wanted with distant stations until the first SHVA law was passed. Whether one wants to call it a permissive or a restrictive law is not really significant. The law does what it does. I'll ask again, since you didn't answer yet: Does any court opinion dealing with SHVA, or any of its successors, describe the law by using the term "permissive," or the term "restrictive?" Or is this just a distinction that you have decided to apply to the law? If it is your description, that is fine, but don't expect that others will automatically recognize your characterization or necessarily agree with it. If satellite was doing as it pleased, as you describe above, until Congress passed SHVA, then one could seem to describe the law as either restrictive or permissive, depending on one's point of view.

Anyway, your opinion doesn't matter. My opinion doesn't matter. The only opinion that matters is that of the court. The court is the institution that will interpret and apply the law when a dispute arises. I don't see the court as using the term "permissive" or "restrictive." I think we should avoid characterizations that spin the law one way or another and don't really add anything to the discussion.

#70 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:13 AM

Basically, Ergen said viewers wanted to watch news from other stations all across the nation. The NAB representative said that is already possible. Ergen said that it is too cumbersome to be switching stations on and off.

But Ergen did not say it wasn't possible. He was simply posturing to get a handout.

Can you cite to me one case where a court said that STELA or the predecessors are "permissive," rather than "restrictive"? I would like to read that opinion, if it exists.

Sure. From the winning team, the response of the Department of Justice to the writ of certiorari:

Rather than restricting speech, the SHVIA license allows satellite carriers to use the property of others without regard to background copyright restrictions. If petitioners do not wish to make use of the statutory license in any market because they are dissatisfied with the terms of that license, they remain free to negotiate the carriage of individual broadcast stations and to carry other programming as well, just as before passage of the SHVIA.

This is for the response to the writ of certiorari.

However, I think you might want this, as I recall once the opinion of the SHVIA was given by the court of appeals, anyone else that could hear the appeal denied it. This is the decision from the Court of Appeals.

In other words, the voluntary decision to carry one local station in a market under the statutory copyright license will trigger an obligation to carry all the requesting stations in that market.

"...voluntary decision..." triggers "an obligation". Permissive. If you wish to use the license, then follow the terms given.

Anyone reading either the response to the writ of certiorari or the actual decision from the Court of Appeals will note that Congress would not pass a law that would destroy the stations' number one means of revenue, and certainly would not create a law that would invalidate exclusive contracts.

Edited by Greg Bimson, 20 July 2010 - 07:21 AM.


#71 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:30 AM

Anyway, your opinion doesn't matter.

I disagree.

My opinion doesn't matter.

I agree. :D

The only opinion that matters is that of the court. The court is the institution that will interpret and apply the law when a dispute arises. I don't see the court as using the term "permissive" or "restrictive." I think we should avoid characterizations that spin the law one way or another and don't really add anything to the discussion.

This isn't a new law. The provisions in the law that you are most against are at least 20 years old and have only been strengthened in revisions. If there was a legal problem with the law that a court might "fix" it would have been done years ago. It is a sound law.

You seem to have instant access to court documents ... how about you use some of your time looking into the issues you have questions about? (Especially the cable carriage issues from 30-50 years ago that have no place in a DBS satellite forum). You can write a nice blog about it for people who care about cable. Or help flesh out your claims by finding every challenge to SHVA and it's revisions. You tell us if it has ever been challenged.

The only "challenge" I know of was the vs DISH lawsuit in Florida. DISH kept fighting and failed to properly follow the statutory license that should have settled that case - and lost. I am unaware of any other case where SHVA was challenged but if you have the resources - perhaps you can find one.

#72 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 10:34 AM

How am I incorrect? Wouldn't negotiating around the statutory license be one of the limited exceptions?

How would negotiating without using the statutory license be a "limited exception"? Either one can use the license, or not. The satellite carriers do not have to use the license at all. However, using the license absolutely destroys the bottleneck of having a station negotiate with all of its programmers for copyright license rebroadcasting rights. So let's put this back into perspective:

I thought that this topic dealt with our opinions as to whether broadcast networks are needed, not a debate over what the law allows or does not allow.

Fine.

The copyright exemption tied to 17 USC 122 is not mandatory. There is no law FORCING the satellite companies to provide local channels. However, both DirecTV and Dish Network are using the license. Both DirecTV and Dish Network are rebroadcasting the affiliates of local networks, and have applauded the legislation which helps them accomplish that task.

It seems to me therefore that broadcast networks are needed, as they still provide the most-watched programming in the country, and Dish Network and DirecTV are happy to use the handout given by the government to rebroadcast those local channels which happen to include broadcast networks. Heck, Dish Network is taking the FCC to court because they would rather be able to provide more of the broadcast networks to other markets in HD than to supplement their current markets with their non-commercial HD broadcasts.

The argument here has been stating the network/affiliate model is outdated. Once again, I ask that a scenario be presented to entice the networks to abandon their network/affiliate distribution system, one that has been intact for decades because the economics of the network/affilate distribution system work as-is.

Edited by Greg Bimson, 20 July 2010 - 10:51 AM.
Better set my grammar correct


#73 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 10:35 AM

Or help flesh out your claims by finding every challenge to SHVA and it's revisions.


But first you learn the difference between "its" and "it's."

#74 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:08 AM

But first you learn the difference between "its" and "it's."

Another grammar flame. I guess that means you agree with everything else that I have said and concede that Greg and I are right.

No more off topic posts please. I've indulged this thread enough.

DBSTalk is a satellite forum, not a cable forum. This thread is about the importance (or lack thereof) of broadcast affiliate networks - being a satellite forum take that "as applied to satellite re-broadcasting". If there is no more discussion of Bigg's topic there is no need for this thread.

#75 OFFLINE   Bigg

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 05:41 PM

[quote name='Herdfan']While there are good arguments on both sides of this issue, the one thing that is broken is the antiquated DMA system used to determine "markets". [/QUOTE]

Yes, and allowing the cable and satellite companies to determine where the market lines are would eliminate this problem, as they would cobble together at least one full set of locals for that market.

[quote name='James Long']
Those that want to break the system are just interfering with free enterprise. There isn't a compelling reason for the government to override the affiliation contracts of the networks/affiliates. There is no constitutional right to view the product being offered.[/QUOTE]

No, you're wrong. Right now, the government, by using the DMA system, is propping up a series of partial monopolies that circumvent free market capitalism. Letting local channels compete with each other for viewers is true capitalism, and is a rather pure form of competition, since you just click a button, and you are watching the other channel.


[quote name='James Long']
Leveling the rules between cable and satellite so satellite at least carry the same channels that cable carries is important. [/QUOTE]

That would be a baby step in the right direction, but it still wouldn't create competition and consolidation among TV stations.

[quote name='runner861']The comparison is not on point. DirectTV is not a free service, so taking it and retransmitting it without permission would be video piracy. OTA is free, or at least it used to be. The local stations and the networks are doing their best to say that it is free, but at the same time to make sure that it really is not free.[/QUOTE]

Thank god someone has a brain. :rolleyes:

Yeah, it makes no sense that their signal is available freely over the air, yet cable and satellite has to pay in order to give that station more viewers, which the station uses to generate advertising revenue. :confused:

[quote name='Greg Bimson']
Why does a satellite or cable company need to retransmit a "free" product? Could it be that without the "free" product people won't subscribe? All one needs to do is point to the passage of the SHVIA back in 1999, when DBS satellite numbers went from less than 8 million subscribers without local channels to now more than 30 million in 2010 with local channels.[/QUOTE]

Surely locals had something to do with the uptake in satellite, since that was before the days of OTA HD, and even today people are lazy. However, there are three other big drivers. The first was digital, while the cable companies had fuzzy analog, the second was the price, as the cable companies drove the price up and up, and the third was HD, where satellite is still way ahead of many cable systems in HD channel selection.

[quote name='James Long']If it were not profitable they wouldn't do it, but delivering "free TV" via satellite or cable isn't free.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, it costs DISH money, but the affiliate shouldn't be getting money for a signal that you could get for free OTA.

[quote name='James Long']
Their affiliation agreement is not the same as the one that network television stations have agreed to. Nor regional sports networks. [/QUOTE]

The newspaper analogy is a good one. There is nothing stopping anyone from selling their paper anywhere, and there used to be multiple papers in each city.

Also, you can pay extra and get the RSN's, although then you'd have to pay again to get the actual games.

[quote name='kevinturcotte']What about people who ONLY have OTA?[/QUOTE]

If the markets were opened up, let the free market decide. In some cases, they would have to get a dish or cable. In other cases, a distant affiliate would keep the transmitters running with a distant feed via microwave. In some cases, the local affiliate will stay around. Let the market decide.

[quote name='Greg Bimson']Economically, it is far from outdated, as there has been no groundswell from the existing networks to abandon the network/affilate model.[/QUOTE]

Economically, it is totally outdated, since relatively few people receive their TV OTA anymore, and those who do aren't attractive to advertisers, because they are either cheap or poor. Neither audience is a very good consumer. It would be far more efficient and much cheaper to distribute programming nationwide to pay-tv operators via satellite.

[quote name='James Long']Say an Indianapolis and Fort Wayne newspaper (cities about 100 miles apart) made a non-compete agreement where in order to sell Fort Wayne newspapers the Indianapolis paper would feed them statewide stories via a wire service and not sell their Indianapolis papers in Fort Wayne.[/QUOTE]

That's a cartel. Cartels are illegal under U.S. Federal Law, by the Sherman Antitrust Act.

[quote name='James Long']Incorrect.

It prevents using the statutory license to distribute an OTA signal outside of it's own market unless the circumstances are met.
The law does not prevent networks and stations from negotiating carriage outside of the statutory licensing structure.[/QUOTE]

Then why can U-Verse carry channels from two states away, while DISH can only carry channels from in-DMA?

[quote name='runner861']The NAB representative said that was already possible if the station negotiated a separate agreement involving programming that no other station had exclusive rights to, like local news.[/QUOTE]

But then, how does SV work? Even on DirecTV, my area can get duplicates of three of the big four. They are both showing prime-time programming.

[quote name='James Long']STELA and the predecessors are PERMISSIVE laws, they provide a statutory license and allow carriage within that license, not restrictive laws that ban carriage.[/QUOTE]

Then why are there markets without a full set of locals, and why isn't DISH doing SV's like cable and DirecTV?

[quote name='James Long']
The current STELA law, as well as the previous SHVIA, permitted the distribution of OTA signals outside of their own market using a statutory license under very limited circumstances.[/QUOTE]

What about SV? Also, I am arguing that the carriers should be able to carry any channel from CONUS, HI, or AK anywhere in CONUS, HI, or AK, by law. This would break the cartel-like structure of the current network system, and allow providers to respond to their customers.

Also, does the current law require gaps to be filled in with DNS, or can they be filled with the next market over?

[quote name='Greg Bimson']
It seems to me therefore that broadcast networks are needed, as they still provide the most-watched programming in the country, and Dish Network and DirecTV are happy to use the handout given by the government to rebroadcast those local channels which happen to include broadcast networks.[/QUOTE]

I bet if they were allowed to, in an actual free market, both of them would light up NYC, Chicago, and LA locals to the whole country, and then skip town on some small market locals to free up TP space. That would get everyone in the US access to HD locals.

[quote name='James Long']If there is no more discussion of Bigg's topic there is no need for this thread.[/QUOTE]

Let them go at it. It's an interesting topic. Thanks for splitting this off, so it didn't go out of control on the PBS thread.

#76 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:40 PM

Yes, and allowing the cable and satellite companies to determine where the market lines are would eliminate this problem, as they would cobble together at least one full set of locals for that market.



No, you're wrong. Right now, the government, by using the DMA system, is propping up a series of partial monopolies that circumvent free market capitalism. Letting local channels compete with each other for viewers is true capitalism, and is a rather pure form of competition, since you just click a button, and you are watching the other channel.




That would be a baby step in the right direction, but it still wouldn't create competition and consolidation among TV stations.



Thank god someone has a brain. :rolleyes:

Yeah, it makes no sense that their signal is available freely over the air, yet cable and satellite has to pay in order to give that station more viewers, which the station uses to generate advertising revenue. :confused:



Surely locals had something to do with the uptake in satellite, since that was before the days of OTA HD, and even today people are lazy. However, there are three other big drivers. The first was digital, while the cable companies had fuzzy analog, the second was the price, as the cable companies drove the price up and up, and the third was HD, where satellite is still way ahead of many cable systems in HD channel selection.



Yeah, it costs DISH money, but the affiliate shouldn't be getting money for a signal that you could get for free OTA.



The newspaper analogy is a good one. There is nothing stopping anyone from selling their paper anywhere, and there used to be multiple papers in each city.

Also, you can pay extra and get the RSN's, although then you'd have to pay again to get the actual games.



If the markets were opened up, let the free market decide. In some cases, they would have to get a dish or cable. In other cases, a distant affiliate would keep the transmitters running with a distant feed via microwave. In some cases, the local affiliate will stay around. Let the market decide.



Economically, it is totally outdated, since relatively few people receive their TV OTA anymore, and those who do aren't attractive to advertisers, because they are either cheap or poor. Neither audience is a very good consumer. It would be far more efficient and much cheaper to distribute programming nationwide to pay-tv operators via satellite.



That's a cartel. Cartels are illegal under U.S. Federal Law, by the Sherman Antitrust Act.



Then why can U-Verse carry channels from two states away, while DISH can only carry channels from in-DMA?



But then, how does SV work? Even on DirecTV, my area can get duplicates of three of the big four. They are both showing prime-time programming.



Then why are there markets without a full set of locals, and why isn't DISH doing SV's like cable and DirecTV?



What about SV? Also, I am arguing that the carriers should be able to carry any channel from CONUS, HI, or AK anywhere in CONUS, HI, or AK, by law. This would break the cartel-like structure of the current network system, and allow providers to respond to their customers.

Also, does the current law require gaps to be filled in with DNS, or can they be filled with the next market over?



I bet if they were allowed to, in an actual free market, both of them would light up NYC, Chicago, and LA locals to the whole country, and then skip town on some small market locals to free up TP space. That would get everyone in the US access to HD locals.



Let them go at it. It's an interesting topic. Thanks for splitting this off, so it didn't go out of control on the PBS thread.


Thank you, Bigg. I agree with everything you have said. Very intelligent and well stated. I am especially interested in cartels and the Sherman Antitrust Act. That may really get to the heart of the matter here.

Edited by runner861, 20 July 2010 - 06:45 PM.


#77 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 07:07 PM

The newspaper analogy is a good one. There is nothing stopping anyone from selling their paper anywhere, and there used to be multiple papers in each city.

That is where the newspaper analogy fails. It is not the same type of affiliation agreement as network affiliates have.

Network stations have purchased and expect to have exclusive first run rights to network programming in their market. That affiliation agreement is what is being protected. Newspapers don't have the same agreement.

Also, you can pay extra and get the RSN's, although then you'd have to pay again to get the actual games.

You can get the non-protected content of the RSNs ... but for any professional sports the league owns the rights and the only way to purchase those rights outside of where the RSN has purchased the rights you have to go through the league.

It's part of the deal the leagues have worked out with the RSNs ... the RSNs air the games locally to a defined audience and are not permitted to deliver those games outside of the defined audience. Programming is deleted on those RSNs for viewers outside of their own markets.

It is also good example of "not receiving the affiliate" not changing the rights. Say a RSN has the rights to a game in their market but the league has sold the rights to viewing in the rest of the US to ESPN. Within that defined market that RSN becomes the only source of the game and ESPN's feed is blacked out. Now add to the mix the unavailability of the RSN on a particular carrier - such as YES not being on DISH Network. This does not change the rights. DISH customers don't get the ESPN feed simply because the RSN isn't available. The affiliate continues to hold the rights and viewing via another affiliate is denied.

Let the market decide.

The market has decided. Networks distributed via affiliates. Problem solved. :)

Edited by James Long, 21 July 2010 - 08:46 AM.
Minor correction to RSN text


#78 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:27 AM

A lot of points, but some need to be countered:

No, you're wrong. Right now, the government, by using the DMA system, is propping up a series of partial monopolies that circumvent free market capitalism. Letting local channels compete with each other for viewers is true capitalism, and is a rather pure form of competition, since you just click a button, and you are watching the other channel.

I don't understand. Do you have only one local channel in Hartford-New Haven? If you have more than one, there is no "partial monopoly" and there certainly is a free market. If you don't like what is on your local ABC you are free to switch to your local FOX, CW, CBS or NBC.

By tying the license in 17 USC 122 to the DMA system, it allows for in-market re-delivery of the stations. This allows for "localism" to thrive, which is Congress' and the FCC's mandate. It stops cablers and DBS companies from cherry-picking.

Economically, it is totally outdated, since relatively few people receive their TV OTA anymore, and those who do aren't attractive to advertisers, because they are either cheap or poor. Neither audience is a very good consumer. It would be far more efficient and much cheaper to distribute programming nationwide to pay-tv operators via satellite.

Really? And what are FOX and CBS to do with their multi-billion dollar investement in affiliates they own, which generate LARGE sums of money to their bottom line?

Then there is this little business called the NFL. FOX and CBS pay large sums of money to broadcast regional games. I'm certain that the NFL doesn't want their product being distributed nationally unless they are in control of it, which is why they have Sunday Ticket.

NBC spends about $600 million annually to broadcast one Sunday night NFL game. ESPN spends about $1.1 billion annually to broadcast one Monday night NFL game. Remove copyright protections, and I can guarantee you it is the end of the NFL on network TV. The NFL would get so much more money going to basic cable, and destroying the network/affiliate model would certainly make everyone's bills go up, simply because of the competition among basic cable channels for the NFL's network package.

It seems to me therefore that broadcast networks are needed, as they still provide the most-watched programming in the country, and Dish Network and DirecTV are happy to use the handout given by the government to rebroadcast those local channels which happen to include broadcast networks.

I bet if they were allowed to, in an actual free market, both of them would light up NYC, Chicago, and LA locals to the whole country, and then skip town on some small market locals to free up TP space. That would get everyone in the US access to HD locals.

They are allowed to. I'll even give you a hint:

The big four networks each own their affiliates in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. So all DirecTV and Dish Network would need to do is contact the station groups and simply have them clear their copyrighted programming nationwide and then come to a nationwide carriage agreement. There is no law stopping that. But something else is stopping it. And surprisingly enough, it is the free market.

#79 OFFLINE   greatwhitenorth

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:40 AM

I bet if they were allowed to, in an actual free market, both of them would light up NYC, Chicago, and LA locals to the whole country, and then skip town on some small market locals to free up TP space. That would get everyone in the US access to HD locals.




Sure, that would be great for NYC, Chicago, and LA. But the rest of us who live outside those cities rely on our locals for more than just "The Bachelorette". If there is a severe weather warning, or other breaking immediate local news, I doubt any National Feed would break into nationally distributed programming for a tornado warning in, say, Little Rock AR. These EBS broadcasts and other local advisories are part of the station's requirement for Public Service. Yes, mathematically you're correct, but you need to see the big picture, and look how people would be affected by the change. Local TV 24-7 is part of the landscape for several reasons, and I don't see why that should change just so we can have more niche HD channels. Just my 2 cents.
The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of Dish Network.

#80 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 08:43 AM

Then why can U-Verse carry channels from two states away, while DISH can only carry channels from in-DMA?

Because the rules on cable are a bit different than the rules regarding satellite.

But then, how does SV work? Even on DirecTV, my area can get duplicates of three of the big four. They are both showing prime-time programming.

It's a long story, but there is a list of stations for each county (and in some instances, community) that measures the stations which OTA viewers are watching, and that is the SV list. Then satellite companies (I believe cablers as well) must contract for that programming in the SV areas. You're lucky; you are one of a few people that can receive network channels from two markets. I'm 22 miles from Baltimore and DC, and can pickup DC with an antenna or cable, but not with DirecTV.

Then why are there markets without a full set of locals, and why isn't DISH doing SV's like cable and DirecTV?

Dish Network was doing SV. Seems they didn't like the terms of the distant network license back in 1998, so the networks and their affiliate boards sued. In 2004, the SHVERA allowed for significantly-viewed stations to be rebroadcast on satellite using the distant network license. In 2006, Dish Network was barred by the court from using that license, for egregiously failing to comply with the terms of use of that license.

Congress and the President have given Dish Network the ability to use the distant license in the 2010 STELA legislation. There is a path Dish Network must follow to get back to retransmitting SV stations.




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