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Are broadcast networks needed? (spin off conversation)


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104 replies to this topic

#101 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:59 AM

They will? Is there a source for this or is this speculation that the availability of distants generates more local viewership?


It is my theory. Perhaps it should be tried in ten selected markets for three years and we can see what happens.

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#102 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:19 AM

The market for pay-TV is at 85 percent of the households in the United States. How many more people will signup to cable or satellite because of the availability of distant stations? I'd be surprised if it is more than 1 percent, as the 85 percent penetration rate has been pretty constant for the past 10+ years.Because maybe an increase of ONE percent of the nation's households would now have increased viewership, but now a choice has been given to the entire subscriber base to watch any and every distant station?

I'm sorry. Perhaps you realize that KGO actually paid KNTV to remove their ABC affiliation. Perhaps NBC, which wanted to purchase its own affiliate and run it in the San Francisco market, was rebuffed in auction by Young Broadcasting, and then NBC simply destroyed KRON and Young Broadcasting. Where NBC offered almost $800 million for that station back in the early 2000's, the station is now worth about $25-50 million. The equipment is still the same, which means the only reason that station was worth so much more was its NBC affiliation and its estimated viewership.It worked, but there was always the guise of localism. And now more than ever, the issue is still about those pesky network-affiliate contracts.

And pay attention to this one: It is your belief that cable or satellite will get numerous new subscribers if distant stations are allowed. Why? It is obvious to me that you believe cable and satellite have value if it can offer many distant stations. Which means by inference you believe the distant stations have value based on the programming they provide. Couple that with your belief that there shouldn't be any retransmission fees, and the reality is you want the deck stacked in favor of satellite and cable, while those wonderful stations you want on satellite and cable receive nothing. Sounds like all the benefits go to cable and satellite, carrying but not paying for programming.

That is not evolution but regression to the same model that started the rise of cable TV, which was rejected by most parties in 1992. It cannot go back to the way it once was; Pandora's box has been open way too long and is now impossible to close, especially when the science of viewership has increased two-fold and network viewership has decreased two-fold. The local broadcasters are fighting for every advantage they can get.


As far as ending retransmission fees, I have always been opposed to retransmission fees. The tv stations should receive their revenue from selling commercial time and attracting viewers, not by taking money out of the pockets of cable and satellite subscribers. Besides, the cable/satellite company is helping the station by securing additional viewers for the station--viewers that the station might otherwise be unable to reach. So I think that the cable/satellite company is helping the station as much as or possibly more than the station is helping the cable/satellite company.

I had cable for decades, starting in the 1960s, when it was known for supplying many distant stations, and I liked that. So that is what I am accustomed to. It has been difficult to see the NAB and some government bureaucrats and politicians take that away. I am by no means anti-government, and I don't want to create that impression. I do believe that an increase in availabilty of distant stations will lead to an increase in subscribers. One percent is your figure. I say we won't know until we try it.

As far as KGO, or ABC, paying KNTV to drop its ABC affiliation, I am aware of that. I am also aware that from 1960 until 2000, some 40 years, ABC was of the opposite opinion and thought that it was a good idea to have two ABC stations in the same market. I am not sure of their reasoning, but it may have been to saturate the market with ABC programming and use KNTV to reach viewers to the south and KGO to reach viewers to the north. But the fact is, viewers in and around the Bay Area had two local ABC stations on their dial. That must have given ABC at least a slight viewership advantage in that market.

It is also a little-known fact that in the early 1980s, KSBW, the NBC affiliate in Salinas, moved its transmitter from Fremont Peak in Salinas up to the Santa Cruz mountains, to the north. This was an effort to penetrate its signal into the Bay Area and compete directly with KRON, the San Francisco NBC affiliate at the time. There were areas in San Francisco where KSBW's signal was more receivable than KRON's after KSBW moved its transmitter.

At the time KNTV went to NBC, KSBW moved its transmitter back to Fremont Peak in Salinas. I'm not sure why KSBW did that--perhaps NBC exerted pressure on the station.

As far as KRON losing value, I am aware of that. However, anyone who knows stations in that market knows that KRON was always a poorly-managed station. Its loss in value may be partially attributable to its severing of the affiliation with NBC. It is also attributable to its poor coverage of local events, and its recycling of lousy syndicated programs, and its dismissal of many of its on-air personalities. Compared to KPIX, KGO, and KTVU, KRON was never much of a player anyway. If KRON had a good local news operation, if it heavily covered Sacramento and San Francisco politics, if it picked up local sports (A's, Giants, 49ers, Warriors), its value would shoot upward very fast. KRON has never been the type of station to actually get out there and do something.

The value I see in distant stations is a few things:

1) Local news coverage. If a viewer wants to see the news from a distant city, that is what he/she wants to see, and there is no getting around that. In California, Steve Cooley is the DA in Los Angeles and he is running for attorney general. The best news coverage of him is on the Los Angeles stations. Kamala Harris is the DA in San Francisco and she is running for attorney general. The best news coverage of her in on the San Francisco stations. Some stations do not have Sacramento bureaus to cover news from the California state capital. Some viewers prefer to watch a station that does have such a bureau.

2) Network programming. If a local station preempts a network program, or shows it at an inconvenient time, the viewer has another option on a distant network.

3) Occasional outages. This is not as much of an issue now as it was a few decades ago. However, if a viewer is watching a network station and the station suffers an outage, just flip to the distant station and continue watching.

Edited by runner861, 18 August 2010 - 03:35 PM.


#103 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 06:01 AM

AsThe value I see in distant stations is a few things:

1) Local news coverage. If a viewer wants to see the news from a distant city, that is what he/she wants to see, and there is no getting around that. In California, Steve Cooley is the DA in Los Angeles and he is running for attorney general. The best news coverage of him is on the Los Angeles stations. Kamala Harris is the DA in San Francisco and she is running for attorney general. The best news coverage of her in on the San Francisco stations.


That is a reason right there is will never happen. No politician is going to want potentially negative coverage of them available to the entire state. What might play great for the DA in SF might not go over so well with the folks in LA.

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#104 OFFLINE   kenglish

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:51 AM

Some of this is reminiscent of the arguments for/against setting up taco carts in front of the established "brick-and-mortar" restaurants. ;)

#105 OFFLINE   Terry K

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 11:51 PM

In my market, we have 4 stations, 2 operators.

One of which is Nexstar, which bar none is one of the worst operators EVER. They only do network HD passthru and their GMs say SD is good enough for the audience. (They operate FOX and CBS)

Then they turn around and extort money from cable, D*, and E* for sub-par programming. Not to mention they moved their CBS affiliate to a worthless VHF that no one can get.

Frankly, if I had the choice legally, I'd sub to any locals other than them. I, instead, opted out of locals so none of my bill goes to support those jokers.

and D* is powerless to offer me a viable alternative.




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