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ESPN costs me $6-12 a month: outrageous


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#81 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 10:38 PM

The fact that 100 million people might accept this doesn't make it the best economic model. If that were standard, we really ought to seriously consider adopting the Chinese model of government as more people put up with it than any model in the world. In the case of television, it just makes it what is.


You're right on that point... Just because 100 million people accept it doesn't make it the best way... but it does make it a viable way to do it. IF 100 million people said "no thanks" then the model would have to change, right?

There are a lot more than 100 million people who are similarly saying "no thanks"... so maybe if an alternative popped into place, some of those people would hop on board.

I don't drink or smoke... but those products have a market and lots of people do drink and smoke. I don't have to buy either or partake in either... but it doesn't mean that there isn't a market for it. Heck, most people know smoking is bad for you, and yet still there are enough people willing to buy to make it a profitable venture. Same for drinking, there are plenty of people who want to imbibe to make that profitable too.

So... 100 million people may not be 100% right... but they aren't entirely wrong, and if 100 million people are willing to pay, and you are running a business that can sell... you'd be crazy not to sell!

Your arguments are simplistic, at best, and quite unrealistic. Everyone cannot just decide to stop paying for cable, and voila. Prices fall.


Sure they CAN... I doubt that they ever WILL... but they most definitely CAN. Before the American Revolution, I suspect the British government said "everyone will not just decide to rebel from us"... and yet it happens.

Every once in a while something is important enough for people to take a stand. IF it isn't important enough, then it continues.

Arguably, if 100 million people are willing to partake... then even if they complain, as long as they pay their bills where is the incentive for cable/satellite to change their business model?

It's also beyond silly to argue that most people think the cable model works for them. Other than on this board, I have never heard a single person tell me they think their cable bill is a fair value.


How many people are members of DBSTalk? How many are members of other similar sites? Betting that number is FAR less than 100 million. 1 million forum members would only be 1% of the pay tv customers... and I know if you tally the members here and at other pay tv discussion forums, you will not approach that 1%... probably won't get above 0.5%...

And the fact that most of the 100 milllion customers are paying their bills month to month and year-to-year... well, that kind of supports the notion that even if they have complaints they value the service more than they de-value by the problems... thus they keep paying the bill to have the service.

To some extent people "need" TV and they are partly captive to the programmers because the market is not fully competitive. So prices are higher than they otherwise would be.


I'm not sure how much more competitive it could be... Dish, DirecTV, and each market has at least one cable option... some also have U-Verse or Verizon FIOS or something similar as well. I, for example, have options of Dish, DirecTV, U-Verse, and Time Warner. Oh, and I also could go "free" for OTA as well as a fifth choice for TV.

It costs a LOT of money to startup a DBS company and launch satellites... it isn't chicken feed to startup a cable system either. So it's not likely a mom & pop operation will launch something like they could a restaurant or retail store. Some businesses take too much startup funds for just anybody to try and compete.

You mention restaurants. Well, if cable were as competitive as that industry, we'd all be paying lower prices. It isn't.


We've done math before... regarding what cable TV cost say in 1980 and the number of channels available vs today's costs and number of channels available. Prices have gone up to be sure, but number of channels & choices has too... so arguably the price-per-channel has gone down over time.

That seems kind of competitive to me.

How are fast food places doing with that same metric? Price of burgers and fries goes up, and sometimes portion sizes go down... so you pay more for the same amount of food OR pay the same for less food than say 10 years ago.

The model of competitive pricing you suggest should mean that prices would go down over time at fast food places... but that isn't what is happening is it?

You examples of supermarkets and six packs are similarly simplistic. I have the choice of more than a dozen supermarket chains within driving distance of me. And six-packs are cheaper because of basic economies of scale.


As I noted, I have the choice of 5 methods of broadcast TV delivery... and some internet options I haven't even explored. It takes far less money to start a grocery store than it does to launch a cable or satellite outfit.

I have only a couple of choices for phone service to my home (traditional, not cellular), and only one choice for power and for water... Power and water are arguably necessities, and yet the price on those services has been kept down as a monopoly rather than competition. So... competition isn't always the best way to deliver affordable services.

Economies of scale... exactly! That's why Coke will sell me a 6-pack for less per drink than a single Coke. EXACTLY the same metric by which Disney will sell me their suite of channels more cheaply than any individual one by itself... and other companies bundle the same... and then Dish bundles those groups into tiers... and so forth.

Economies of scale works with TV too :)

Yes, programmers can argue economies of scale - but they have far more market power than grocery stores and soda makers. So I am all in favor of laws that make markets more competitive, but not necessarily more regulated.


How? Genuinely... how could laws make markets more competitive? I honestly can't think of a way right at the moment.

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#82 OFFLINE   sregener

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:37 AM

To some extent people "need" TV and they are partly captive to the programmers because the market is not fully competitive. So prices are higher than they otherwise would be.


What would a fully competitive market look like? Right now, I have three choices in pay-TV providers, and too many online options to count. I also have an antenna setup on the roof that provides me with 13 discrete channels of programming at no monthly cost, and a DTVPal DVR that also has no monthly fees. In other words, I have lots of options beyond simply not watching TV - but I did go through two 6-month stretches where I actually put the TV in the closet and didn't want any video at all. If you've never done it, I highly recommend it. It will change your perspective on how much you "need" video entertainment.

The only reason prices are higher than they would be in a fully free market is because government has created the idea of intellectual property, which is enforced through copyright laws. As long as the producers of intellectual property have exclusive rights to determine how their creative works are distributed, the market will not be truly free. However, the arguments about intellectual property rights are long and complicated, and as a content producer myself, I tend to side in favor of IP rights.

As far as prices being fair, the only people who can make the argument are the people who aren't paying them. People who say that cable costs too much but pay it are hypocrites - their actions do not match their words.

#83 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 10:49 AM

Most colonists did not in fact rebel against the British, SV. Historians generally agree that about one-third of the populace at the time supported revolt (and far fewer than that actively participated).. About one third were against and the rest were in the middle. Apathetic, if you will.

The example just goes to show how much one group can exert outsized power in proportion to its numbers. Sort of like a market imbalance or imperfect market.

Historical simplicities aside, SV, I find most of your arguments unpersuasive. Take the price-per-channel argument. Sure, you can argue that more channels are available today, but that’s a quantitative argument as opposed to a qualitative one.

I watch a few dozen channels at most, no different than 20 years ago. All those extra channels are not necessarily providing me value. In my view, I am not getting a lot more for my money by having more channels. (The big improvements to me are HDTV and time shifting).

This particular sub-argument highlights the difficulty in judging the historical cost trends of pay television. Government inflation statistics adjust for qualitative improvements, but as in the case of more channels being available, it’s a very subjective call.

This is not just an obscure statistical argument, either. The real as opposed to the nominal price of cable would look very different based on how the government makes its adjustments.

Another way to look at cable pricing is as a percentage of a household’s budget over time. But again, you can look at this number and slice it up to make the trend look good or bad.

Sure, I have a choice of four carriers in my neighborhood, but they ALL buy programming from the same companies. It’s kind of like the UAW in the old days. I had the choice of three U.S. auto companies to buy from, but their prices were very similar because they all paid the same amount for labor. The UAW made sure that each auto maker agreed to a similar contract – or else.

As I noted earlier, I don’t use the word “fair” in terms of pricing. I would agree that cable prices are complex. The industry can make some compelling arguments for the current rates UNDER the current system. It’s the current system I question.

Some laws can and do create a more competitive environment. Antitrust law, for example, was used to block a Dish-DirecTV merger and arguably maintain a higher level of competition among carriers.

If I were emperor, I’d bar programmers from tying one channel to another. They would have to set a fee for each channel and could not force a carrier to take channels they do not want. Carriers would also be free to put any channel on any tier free from intimidation from the programmers.

At the same time, though, programmers would be allowed to offer discounts depending on the number of stations a carrier accepted. In my world, the cost of the channels each of us buys would be more reflective of the actual price. My guess is that most people would pay somewhat less but a few would pay significantly more.

Would this be legal? Would it do much to reduce or hold the line on prices? I do not know. Programmers would react in ways to minimize the effects of such a law. They always do, and rightly so, from their perspective. Panaceas rarely exist.

Clearly, Internet TV will be the biggest influence in the future on restraining cable costs. As a consumer, I did what I could by switching to Dish. I will use the service for the required time and switch to another carrier to get a better deal if necessary in a few years.

To sregener: I just went without cable for three months as a home addition was built. I would have been happy to stay disconnected for awhile, but my wife and daughter for different reasons insisted I resume service ASAP.

As for your definition of a hypocrite, all of us are hypocrites then. Every person in the country pay for some things they think are overpriced. Gas is a perfect example. The purists among are are few and I suspect this group does not even include you!

Edited by jbart1965, 25 June 2012 - 12:31 PM.


#84 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 11:33 AM

TL;DR.

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#85 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 12:28 PM

TS;DR.

#86 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:27 PM

Most colonists did not in fact rebel against the British, SV. Historians generally agree that about one-third of the populace at the time supported revolt (and far fewer than that actively participated).. About one third were against and the rest were in the middle. Apathetic, if you will.


Still doesn't defeat my point, though, which was the people had the power... and enough people banded together made a difference.

So maybe everyone doesn't have to get together... maybe just 1/3 of pay tv customers could get together and make a difference?

Take the price-per-channel argument. Sure, you can argue that more channels are available today, but that’s a quantitative argument as opposed to a qualitative one.


Perhaps... but how are you arguing qualitatively? Take the AMC dispute as an example... they arguably have only 65 hours of compelling original content in a year... is that quality? Maybe... but it isn't very much quality?

So... there are bundles of channels... but on any given channel there is a lot of crap too, so that has driven some people away from even a la carte and instead to individual program/shows that they like instead of whatever else a given channel might offer.

I watch a few dozen channels at most, no different than 20 years ago. All those extra channels are not necessarily providing me value. In my view, I am not getting a lot more for my money by having more channels. (The big improvements to me are HDTV and time shifting).


True... but you do have more choice. Without that increased choice, some of the options you do like might not be here. The movie industry puts out a LOT more movies now in a year than they did 30 years ago too... which means a lot more bad movies, but also more good movies too... IF you shave off the top and go back to 30 years ago... you would have less garbage to be sure, but less good stuff too.

This particular sub-argument highlights the difficulty in judging the historical cost trends of pay television. Government inflation statistics adjust for qualitative improvements, but as in the case of more channels being available, it’s a very subjective call.


How so? The simple fact is that 100 million people are paying their bills, right? So... even if they complain... as long as they pay the bills, they must be finding more positive than negative.

Would you pay someone to jab you in the eye with a sharp stick? I hope not... because the damage would outweigh any enjoyment...

Yeah, a lot of people think they are paying too much... and wish we could pay less... but at the end of the day we feel we are getting value for our money OR we would not continue to pay for TV.

Why would you pay for TV that you don't find has value?

The market works in such a way that there wouldn't be 100 million customers for something that most of them didn't like.

Sure, I have a choice of four carriers in my neighborhood, but they ALL buy programming from the same companies.


That holds no water, though. Who else is going to sell HBO but HBO? Who else can sell Disney but Disney?

McDonald's can't and doesn't sell Whoppers... you have to go to Burger King for those.

If you own the content, you sell it as you see fit... HBO, for example, like other channels chooses to sell to an intermediary rather than direct to the customer.

I'm not sure what your argument is supposed to mean. Grocery stores by and large carry the same stuff... so if I want Pepsi, I can go to Kroger or Food Lion or Target or wherever... but it is still Pepsi.

Some laws can and do create a more competitive environment. Antitrust law, for example, was used to block a Dish-DirecTV merger and arguably maintain a higher level of competition among carriers.


Anti-trust is a far cry from what we are talking about here, though... which is you or I creating something and selling it for the price the market will bear. If I write a book, I get to set the price. I should pay attention to the market of course, but I could demand whatever I want and see how the book sells.

Someone else can't take my book and sell it as their own. Just like HBO or Disney or whatever gets to sell their channel however they want.

If I were emperor...


I'm sure in jest... but you realize the hypocrisy of wanting more freedom through the declaration of an emperor, right? :)

..., I’d bar programmers from tying one channel to another. They would have to set a fee for each channel and could not force a carrier to take channels they do not want. Carriers would also be free to put any channel on any tier free from intimidation from the programmers.


You have to realize, though... the market has essentially spoken in years past on this point. People want multiple channels from a company that has multiple channels... and people want packages that cost them less than individual channels do.

People used to have a la carte for everything when cable first started... then some hybrid "pick 10" scenarios for a while... and overwhelmingly customers chose bundled packages to get more channels for less per channel.

That's how the market evolved where it has... by most customers choosing to nudge it that way. So, the market and consumers really have spoken here.

At the same time, though, programmers would be allowed to offer discounts depending on the number of stations a carrier accepted. In my world, the cost of the channels each of us buys would be more reflective of the actual price. My guess is that most people would pay somewhat less but a few would pay significantly more.


You're falling into a trap that many do... assuming that a channel taking 25 cents now in a package would only ask 25 cents if they had to go a la carte. Channels can take 25 cents because they are in a tier that has millions of subscribers.

IF customers have the choice to buy or not buy, then the price will go up. How much? Depends on how many people are willing to buy that channel. The more people willing to jump on board, the lower the channel can be sold for.

Consider HBO for $15-$20 for its suite as an a la carte choice... expect other channel suites to need/want in that neighborhood if they too had to go it alone.

A lot of channels would go away for lack of viewership. Channels like AMC that only had 9 million viewers to its highest rated show ever... has less than 10% of the paytv market... and yet right now most of those people are kicking in a 25 cent per month fee.

Take that away and make AMC go alone... at most they would have 9 million customers... which means they would need $2.50 from each of those viewers to come close to what they make now from being in a tier. Then factor in that the 9 million was a blip in their ratings... and most of the year they aren't airing popular programming... and they might be a $4-$5 channel per month to get the same revenue that they enjoy today.

That might not be sustainable... and it might mean that (and other similar) channels couldn't afford to stay in business.

So instead of giving a quarter to a channel you don't watch or $5 to ESPN... you might be giving nothing to no one because your favorite channels are gone!

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#87 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:36 PM

I’d bar programmers from tying one channel to another. They would have to set a fee for each channel and could not force a carrier to take channels they do not want. Carriers would also be free to put any channel on any tier free from intimidation from the programmers.

That sound good (impossible to get written into law, but good) except the next thing you say guts the entire idea.

At the same time, though, programmers would be allowed to offer discounts depending on the number of stations a carrier accepted. In my world, the cost of the channels each of us buys would be more reflective of the actual price.

Here is the new price list under Emperor jbart's rules:
Each ESPN channel - $20 per month.
Each Disney/ABC cable channel - $10 per month.
Each O&O ABC Broadcast Affiliate - $5 per month.

A discount will be provided for providing ESPN and ESPN2 to the same customer. ESPN + ESPN2 will be discounted to $20 per month.
A discount will be provided for providing all of the ESPN feeds to the same customer. ESPN + ESPN2 + ESPN U + ESPNews + ESPN Classic will be discounted to $18 per month.
A discount will be provided for providing ESPN to a certain percentage of the carrier's subscribers. ESPN + ESPN2 + ESPN U + ESPNews provided to over 90% of customers will be discounted to $10 per month.

A discount will be provided for also carrying Disney / ABC cable channels and ABC owned and operated television stations. And at the end of the day, we are right where we are now ... carriers making the best deal possible with the carriers and a whole lot of bundling and tier placement going on.

(BTW: You may scoff at the "discount price" for combining ESPN channels being the same as each individual channel but there is a basis in reality for those examples - commercial a la carte rates. It is cheaper via commercial a la carte to buy all of the ESPN channels than to buy one. That is a discount.)

#88 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:07 PM

Yes, I was jesting about being an emperor. And no, I don't think being an emperor would necessarily solve what is a minor problem in my annual budget.

This debate is going nowhere, but we all knew that. I am not in the least persuaded by the rather vociferous and curious arguments I see here in favor of the current business model exactly as it is. Odd.

It's a pretty good model for carriers, but a better one for programmers. They have the most power and are insulated from full competitive pressure. Consumers have to act against their carriers to exert pressure on the programmers and it's not an especially effective tool.

Cable costs would be lower if programmers had less leverage, plain and simple. Perhaps not a lot lower, but lower. Prices would also not rise quite as fast. This is the history of all truly competitive markets and any arguments to the contrary are nonsense.

But that's not the way it is. I grant that these are high fixed-cost industries less suitable for ideal competition. There IS a fair amount of competition among carriers, but there is far less among programmers.. I don't really see anything changing that.

I will let barking dogs - me included - lie, gentlemen.

#89 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:47 PM

Part of why pay TV is different... is because of the product being sold, even moreso than how it is being sold.

McDonalds and Burger King and Wendys sell burgers... Arbys and others have other beef sandwiches... Subway and Quiznos and Jersey Mikes have sandwiches in general.

So... lots of choices of places to eat, and while we all have our preferences... if we are truly honest the products are more similar than they are different, so each place gets forced to compete on price to keep our business.

But...

HBO is the only place to get HBO programming.
Disney/ABC/ESPN is the only place to get Disney/ABC/ESPN
NBC/Universal has channels too
and so forth

so... it's not the same kind of competition. You can't subscribe to HBO and get all the different programs you want to get. You need more channels to get the variety you want...

Unlike fast food, though... where you'd have to drive to each place to make a meal from various stuff (Whopper, Wendys chili, McDonalds fries, Arbys pastry turnovers, etc.) Dish, DirecTV, and so forth essentially "visit" each channel and bring their programming to you.

Around here we have some delivery services that offer menus from various places... and you can pay them to bring stuff from different restaurants to you. You pay more, for the convenience of not having to go out yourself.

That's what we pay Dish for... This is why DBS has taken over from the C-band... C-band gave you direct access to feeds from the channel providers, though you had to pay for authorization to unscamble the encrypted ones... you were getting your feed from the satellites directly.

Dish and DirecTV are doing all that work for you... and offering you a menu with some "value meals" to choose from.

When we try and compare pay tv to other options for entertainment and value-per-dollar... we have to remember that competition is different.

It isn't Syfy vs TBS... those channels have different programming choices. Yeah, some folks would make that choice... but most of us either want both or neither. That's how the popular packages ended up forming... Channels that most people want end up in the lowest tier. Channels that want more money or are less popular (sometimes one leads to the other) are in higher tiers OR a la carte.

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#90 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:03 AM

This debate is going nowhere, but we all knew that. I am not in the least persuaded by the rather vociferous and curious arguments I see here in favor of the current business model exactly as it is. Odd.

Arguments in favor? More like statements of how the real world works plus a dose of reality for anyone who believes they can wave a magic wand and make it better.

It seems that the only fix for the problem would be a heavy handed government intervention. Perhaps not an emperor, but a pay TV czar who would dictate price and availability of channels. At the end of the day, which is the lesser of the evils?

Cable costs would be lower if programmers had less leverage, plain and simple. Perhaps not a lot lower, but lower. Prices would also not rise quite as fast. This is the history of all truly competitive markets and any arguments to the contrary are nonsense.

There are few markets that come close to the marketplace of distributing pay TV. Most of the time when someone gives an example of what pay TV is like there are major holes in their comparisons.

The closest I can come is to consider the pay TV companies as our agents running a stock fund ... we have given them a proxy to spend our entertainment dollars on our behalf. Our return on investment is not cash in our portfolio but entertainment value. We can provide feedback on what we want our agents to do but there is no democracy. If you don't like the way your agent is running the fund your only true options are to 1) learn to live with it, 2) find another agent or 3) get out of the market.

Of course, the hole in that comparison is that your account returns to zero at the end of each billing month and one must pay more into the fund to continue receiving the dividend of "entertainment value". There is no way of pulling out the monthly funding and letting your previous investments ride like there is in a stock fund.


I disagree that a la carte would drive prices lower ... buying in bulk seems to be the only way prices have gone lower in this marketplace - and a la carte is the opposite of bulk channel deals.

#91 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:23 AM

Arguments in favor? More like statements of how the real world works plus a dose of reality for anyone who believes they can wave a magic wand and make it better.


Uh, the "real" world works differently in different industries, James. I used to write about economics and business for a living, so I know a thing or two about competitive markets. Years ago I covered congressional hearings on cable prices and I read a number of studies from the industry and critics alike about the merits of the current system. It's flawed and not fully competitive. Any reasonable person can see that.

Where I agree with you and the curious band of brothers defending the current system EXACTLY AS IS is a disinclination to call for federal intervention. In my experience covering Congress, it has often done more harm than good, particularly with cable. There's a long, sad history there.

The system is what it is. It's not a bad system, it's just not a great one for consumers. It's merely okay.

As for true a la carte, I don't believe that's the answer. I'd just like to see carriers get more leverage and say in what they include in their packages and how they structure their tiers.

Is it realistically possible? Probably not. Yet it's absurd to suggest that the current structure of the market is ideal. Rarely is that the case in anything.

Bundling in general does have advantages and it's common practice in many industries. Some form is probably essential, never mind inevitable.

The FCC did a study under Michael Powell in the 1990s showing that true a la carte would actually increase prices for consumers and/or lead to fewer channels (not something I necessarily oppose). Some on the left - Consumers Union - charged bias because Powell was a Republican with free-market leanings. The study was persuasive, though, and Congress dropped the issue.

I'd rather the government leave an imperfect market alone than get involved again.

#92 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:16 AM

Charlie Ergen knows a thing or two about the business and he evidently does not think the current model is great, either. Here is what he plans to say at a congressional hearing on Wednesday (from Fierce Cable News):

"Broadcasters play the pay-TV providers against one another. They cut off the most popular sports and entertainment programming if their demands for drastically higher rate increases are not met," says Ergen, whose company has battled Fox Broadcasting and several other TV station groups over increased retransmission-consent fees. "Consumers lose because they cannot see the programming they paid for, they end up paying higher rates, or both."

Testimony is here.

http://republicans.e...nC-20120627.pdf

***

Now, it's true Ergen has an ax to grind and favors regulation beneficial to his company. He might even have more trust in Congress than I do.

On the other hand, I also suppose it's possible Ergen does not live in the real world. Perhaps he also needs a lesson from the band of brothers as to why the current business model favoring the programmers is actually great for all of us consumers.

Some people just can't recognize the ideal even when it gobsmacks them in the face!

#93 OFFLINE   satcrazy

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:17 AM

As far as prices being fair, the only people who can make the argument are the people who aren't paying them. People who say that cable costs too much but pay it are hypocrites - their actions do not match their words

.

Not a fair assessment. I can think of several apartment-type high rises that house seniors and disabled here, and not only is cable their only option, I would venture to say it is their primary, if not only mode of entertainment. I'm sure they hate the high cable bills for crappy tv, but sometimes options amount to "zip".

#94 OFFLINE   RasputinAXP

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:51 AM

On the other hand, I also suppose it's possible Ergen does not live in the real world. Perhaps he also needs a lesson from the band of brothers as to why the current business model favoring the programmers is actually great for all of us consumers.

Some people just can't recognize the ideal even when it gobsmacks them in the face!


You consider the current situation ideal?

Everybody gets held hostage when, for example, their local syndicate decides to start a pissing match with Dish or Direct. They want to get paid more. A lot more. So they pull their signal, or get pulled by the satcaster.

They can't import a station to cover the shortage. It's not allowed, and there's not a lot they can do about that. It would be good to allow in this situation for a neighboring network to be carried.

"Belligerent and numerous."

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#95 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:26 PM

You consider the current situation ideal


I was being facetious.

#96 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 03:32 PM

I'd just like to see carriers get more leverage and say in what they include in their packages and how they structure their tiers.


I'm not sure what this part means.

When negotiating a single channel, Dish and channel YYY negotiate on price and tier. The more money the channel wants, the higher the tier Dish wants to place it. Accept less money? Go in a lower tier. That's about as free as the negotiation can get.

When negotiating with say, Disney, who has multiple channels... then the negotiations can go multiple ways. Maybe Disney wants all channels in the same tier... or maybe they want most in a lower tier but are willing to put others in a higher tier. Again, the bundling part is something Disney can do however they want (whether we like it or not) with their channels... but the tier it gets placed in Dish has some say over that in the negotiations.

Dish has dropped channels before over the channel wanting lower tier placement without lowering the price.

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#97 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 04:12 PM

Uh, the "real" world works differently in different industries, James.

Can I say "duh"? That was my point ... the cable/satellite industry is a unique beast. Trying to make it work like other industries is like putting a round peg in a smaller square hole.

I'd rather the government leave an imperfect market alone than get involved again.

Can I say "duh" again? There are notification rules that cable companies must follow that could be applied to satellite carriers but I don't see that as helping the core problem. Getting companies to agree. And that really can't be forced.

#98 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:17 PM

Posters can say "duh" all they want. I don't mind. People of limited vocabularies and limited imaginations should stick to what they know best.

Cable is not so unique as a market. Lot of industries with pipes - electric, gas, water, phone, rail - are similar but different nations achieve different results with different rules in regard to competition.

In any case, Charlie Ergen and I agree. I don't mind being in the same company. I had the pleasure to interview him several times years ago. A truly brilliant and interesting businessman - and a really nice guy. Not too many of those around here.

His vocabulary extends beyond the word "duh," too.

#99 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:56 PM

Perhaps you missed it, but you agree with me as well - even though it seems that you want to phrase your messages in a way that expresses disagreement. :rolleyes:

#100 OFFLINE   jbart1965

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 10:31 PM

As they say in SC rulings, I concur in part and dissent in part.

I'll let Charlie take over from here. Be interesting to see if he offers any realistic solutions at the House hearing during the Q&A. His written testimony included none.




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